Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Croquettes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, plain and simple. Nothing against all the other holidays, but Thanksgiving has the perfect combination of football, food, and family that just can’t be beat.

And did I mention the food?

I love everything that’s on the Thanksgiving table, from the turkey to the mashed potatoes to the green beans to the cranberries. But every year I can’t help but long for a surprise in the mix. Some dish that comes along and turns the whole dinner on it’s head (in a good way!)

That’s what inspired these croquettes, which combine some classic Thanksgiving flavors with some not-so-traditional ingredients. The inspiration also came from one of my favorite food bloggers, Nick Evans over at Macheesmo, who recently crafted a Kabocha squash risotto topped with pomegranate and sage. It’s a damn good risotto, but I wanted to make something that emphasized the traditional Thanksgiving flavors of squash and sage.

These croquettes definitely hit the mark. The squash, along with the sweet potato that provides enough hold for frying, shine through in every bite of croquette, perfectly seasoned with sage, onion and a hint of parmesan. The pomegranate is a great twist, each a burst of tart, sweet juice.

When I made this I let it chill for 15 minutes the in freezer to really solidify it in preparation for frying it. Although it retained its shape well, the first one I fried was still cool in the center when I pulled it from the pan. Leaving it for only ten minutes in a refrigerator will mean the croquettes aren’t as firm –  making them a bit more finicky – but the end result is definitely worth it.

I think it’s going to be a new Thanksgiving tradition in the Rosemary Renaissance kitchen!

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Croquettes

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large butternut squash, halved and cleaned
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lather the inside of the butternut squash with olive oil and place face-down on a baking sheet covered with tin foil. Set the sweet potato on the baking sheet and cook for 35 minutes.
  2. Scoop the contents of the butternut squash into a large bowl. Peel away the skin from the sweet potato (it should come away easily if cooked through) and add to the bowl as well. Mash together.
  3. Heat a pan to medium and melt the butter in it. Add the onion, pepper, salt and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the sauteed onions, parmesan cheese, sage and flour to the bowl. Mixed together with the squash and sweet potato until fully integrated.
  5. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds into the bowl. Carefully fold them into the mix (you don’t want to seeds to pop).
  6. Coat a large plate lightly with olive oil. Form 1/2 to 1 inch thick balls from the squash mixture and place them on the plate. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator.
  7. In a high-rim skillet, add enough oil to create a half inch layer. Heat to medium. In as large of batches as you are comfortable with, coat each croquette ball with egg and bread crumb, then cook in the oil. They should be crispy and lightly browned on the outside and fully cooked through. Remove each to a plate covered with a paper towel to collect the extra oil.
  8. Once you have cooked all the croquettes, remove the paper towel from the plate and serve.
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