Food & Wine (November 2014)
Last weekend we hosted our annual Fakesgiving dinner. It was our biggest one yet: 24 diners (packed into our tiny apartment!), 20 dishes (the most ever!), for 10 hours (we kid you not: The first guests arrived at 2:30 p.m. and the last ones left at 12:30 a.m.).
We started things off with this soup. But truth be told, we're not sure soup or salad really belongs at the Thanksgiving table. What say you, Bittens?
In our view, Thanksgiving is already a big meal. There are copious dishes, mounds of stuffing, meat galore. An early or extra soup or salad course seems superfluous.
But we can see reasons for doing it. Perhaps you're having a very fancy Thanksgiving meal for a small group, where everyone is wearing a monocle while eating foie gras-laced turkey.
Or, you can use a soup or salad the way we do: as a stalling tactic. Sometimes on Thanksgiving you just need to buy yourself a bit of time while that turkey comes up to temperature and you juggle dishes through your oven in an attempt to get everything hot. We know; we've been there.
So if you're going to go the soup route, we think you'll do well by serving this Curred Carrot and Apple Soup at your big meal.
This was the first course on our Fakesgiving menu, and as you can see in the photo above (snapped thanks to our friends Ken & Jeff), we served it in our back yard, where our friends had gathered for cocktails/been sequestered while we frantically cooked and photographed inside the house.
The soup itself has excellent flavor -- our guests especially loved the kick of the hot madras curry, which is worth sourcing for this recipe instead of just using any old curry. We found it bolder than the other curry powder we had on hand.
And even better, soups like this can be made well ahead of Thanksgiving Day, so all you need to do is reheat right before the big meal.
Does soup or salad belong at Thanksgiving? Let's hear your take.
>> Read the full Thanksgiving 2014 recipe index
>> Read about this year's biggest Thanksgiving trends
Active time 30 MIN | Total time: 1 hr
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and chopped
2 pounds carrots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds
1 1/4 pounds celery root, peeled and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
7 gingersnap cookies
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 thyme sprigs
2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Chopped mint, for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, leek, fennel and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, 9 minutes. Add the carrots, celery root, apple, gingersnaps, curry powder, garlic, ginger and thyme and cook, stirring, until the carrots and celery root soften slightly, 10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender with the sour cream and vinegar until smooth. Reheat the soup if necessary and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with toasted pumpkin seeds and chopped mint and cilantro and serve.