I’m sure this time of year, all your culinary efforts are focused on planning the most festive meal of the year: the Thanksgiving meal. You aspire to demonstrate your hospitality and talents to be a little bit contemporary and trendy, yet present a traditional meal at the same time (no pressure!). You try to figure out how to be a gracious host when a dozen different sides need to be ready exactly at same time, yet your oven is occupied by a giant bird.
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- Modern Manna recipe / Grilled vegetable salad for the perfect July 4 barbecue
- Three Mediterranean-inspired side dishes
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One dish that is almost never a part of the Thanksgiving feast is soup, but fall veggies are excellent for making the most creamy soups without the help of cream and for starting the cold season in a warm, relaxed manner. So here we go:
Celery root and parsnip soup with caramelized garlic
2 medium sized celery roots, peeled and washed
4 medium sized parsnips, peeled
1 yellow onion, peeled
¼ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth at room temperature
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1. Cut celery roots, parsnips and onion to roughly 1½ inch cubes. Put ¼ cup of olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat, add vegetables and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coriander and broth, bring to boil, lower heat, cover pot and cook for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are very soft. Transfer to a blender and blend until very smooth. Return soup to pot over low heat, add salt, cook for an extra minute and remove from heat.
2. While soup is cooking, prepare the caramelized garlic. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat, then add garlic and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden brown and sticky. Remove from heat and transfer garlic with cooking oil immediately to a small bowl to stop the cooking process. Keep until ready to serve the soup.
3. Ladle soup into soup bowls, top with garlic and olive oil and serve.
Celerey root and parsnip soup with caramelized garlic (Photo by Vered Guttman)
Red lentils and sweet potato soup
Mild Indian seasoning makes for delicious undertones, and the combination of lentils and sweet potato makes this soup filling enough to eat as a full meal.
Turmeric root is available at some specialty markets and Asian supermarkets, though it can be substituted with ground turmeric.
1 cup red lentils, washed
3 medium sides sweet potatoes or yams
3 tablespoons butter
1½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3 tablespoons minced turmeric root (or 1 tablespoon ground turmeric)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
4 large garlic cloves, mined
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Kosher salt to taste
Roasted salted pumpkin seeds for serving
Olive oil for drizzling
1. Put red lentils in a soup pot, add 6 cups water, bring to boil over medium-high heat, cover and lower the heat.
2. In the meantime, peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Add to pot, bring to boil again over medium-high heat, then lower heat, cover with lid and cook for 30 minutes until lentils and sweet potatoes are very soft.
3. While the soup is cooking, melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, turmeric, ginger, garlic and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomato and tomato paste and while still stirring cook for another 2 minutes. Set aside.
4. When the soup is done cooking, transfer it all to a blender, add tomato mixture and salt (about 1 tablespoon) and blend until very smooth. Transfer soup back to pot, adjust salt to taste. Ladle into soup bowls, top with pumpkin seeds and olive oil and serve.
Red lentils and sweet potato soup (Photo by Vered Guttman)
Roasted pepper and pomegranate molasses soup
This soup is based on the Moroccan muhamarra dip of roasted peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
Using preserved roasted peppers will the soup very sour, so you’ll need to roast them yourself (though the method below, adapted from the New York Times, is really easy).
Pomegranate molasses (or syrup) is available at Middle Eastern and specialty markets.
6 red peppers
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 garlic cloves, sliced
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
2 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup or molasses
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped roasted walnuts for serving
1. To roast the peppers put oven on broil and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut peppers in half and remove seeds. Arrange peppers in one layer, making sure not to crowd them, and put in the oven at about 7-8 inches away from the broiler. Roast until the skin is completely charred (about 20-25 minutes) and rotate the baking sheet as needed. Transfer peppers to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove charred skin with your hands (do not wash the peppers!), thus saving all the juices.
2. To make the soup, put olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 3 minutes. Add peppers, potatoes, paprika and 4 cups stock and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover with lead, and cook for 30 minutes. Add pomegranate syrup, lemon juice and salt to taste. Transfer to a blender and blend until very smooth. Transfer soup back to pot, adjust seasoning and serve with chopped walnuts and a good drizzle of olive oil.