The Perfect Holiday Soup loaded with roasted and earthy flavors. Just right, not too filling before the Holiday Feast!
Each year the menu for my Thanksgiving Feast changes a bit to reflect new ingredients I am interested in. Last year I served Butternut Squash Soup with Parsnips and Pears, so I imagined a soup with different, distinctive flavors. I never want the first course at the beginning of the meal to be too filling. Homemade broth will be made, and the freshest organic vegetables will be chosen at my local farmers’ market.
Since squash is the dominant ingredient – the variety you choose will determine the flavor and the color of the soup.
Roasting the squash before adding it to the soup is a technique I highly recommend – for it creates a depth of flavor.
Kabocha Squash is becoming quite popular, it’s look is short and stout with a dark green striped exterior. It’s the one I choose for this soup.
Not the easiest of squashes to peel, I would say darn impossible! So, just quickly cut each one into large chunky slices, about 8 slices each, and lay them on a roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Let roast until almost colored, then cut into a 1/2″ dice when cool enough to handle. Quite simple. Then you will have a base of dark orange “meat” (which is deeper than butternut squash) with a caramelized flavor.
Pictured below I bought a long organic variety called “banana squash” with high hopes. The flavor did nothing for me… bland color and flavor. Kabocha squash was the winner – give it a try!
Celeriac (celery root) is a root vegetable with a delicate yet vibrant flavor and a wonderful pairing with squash. I love the light ivory color, a beautiful contrast. Leeks I always love in soups, as they are mellower than onions, and make everything they mingle with just taste better!
The spices in the soup are warm ones – cinnamon, cloves and smoked paprika. I also add a cinnamon stick to the pot for a lingering, naturally sweet aroma.
Think ahead and make your homemade broth, and freeze in 4 cup containers as I do, then soup making is simple… and healthier than bland store bought cans (mostly laden with preservatives.)
Another layer to this soup is the Harissa Sauce dolloped on top for family and friends to swirl in. It is known as the national condiment of Tunisia. I make mine with red peppers and traditional ingredients such as: caraway and cumin seeds, garlic, dry chiles (the mild ones!), tomato paste and extra virgin olive oil. I think introducing these flavors work beautifully with the softer, warm notes of the soup.
Happy Holiday Cooking!
Many more Thanksgiving recipes to come..