This is my first year hosting Thanksgiving, and I'm trying my hardest to make it as complicated as possible for myself. :P
My latest dilemma is whether or not to serve a soup to start. I'm worried about an excess of food, considering my menu is already as big as my family's usual menu:
sweet potato wedges
2 cranberry sauces
And if I throw in a soup, I can't decide between a squash soup or mushroom soup. I don't have specific recipes for either, so I was hoping for some chowhound suggestions. Please? :)
I have a lovely cream of chestnut soup recipe at home - perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner. That or wine broth, which is a peppery combination of red and white table wines, plus some other unlikely ingredients. It's served in brandy snifters. Will send myself an email to try and remember to look it up and send both this evening.
I have a funny feeling you meant to type Uncomplicated.....
Anyway, we usually have a starter/appetizer first course even though we have drinks and hors d'oeuvre as folks arrive. I would suggest a light soup to start. My mother was famous for her chicken consommé. Light, full of flavor and just the thing to prepare the stomach for the ensuing enslaught....er... I mean the delectable comestibles to follow. Others I know have started with a simple butternut squash. I once made a pumpkin soup and served it in baby pumpkins.
may i suggest a creamy carrot/curry/ginger soup. i took it once to a thanksgiving dinner, and people swooned....well, almost! ;-)
i got the recipe from a friend, but think she cooked from the nyt cookbook, or the joy of cooking. it had about a pound of carrots, about 2 C chopped or sliced white onion, sweated in butter with some fresh ginger, and a little curry powder, then chicken stock was added and it simmers for a while. then puree it in a blender, and stir in some warm cream just before serving. awesome. good to garnish with some toasted almonds! or a sprinkle of paprika.
I think that not only is soup overkill with such a big, heavy (traditional) Thanksgiving menu but it add yet another complication. How to serve? When? I wouldn't bother but since you're looking for complicated :).... What I HAVE done with soup at times, is serve it in very small bowls with Chinese ladle/spoons. People can eat it standing or sitting around anywhere. And if it's a thin-type soup, you could skip the spoons entirely and it can just be drunk. When I've done this, people seem to really get a kick out of it.
Here’s a link to the Kabocha squash soup from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques.”
The roasted butternut squash soup is from a marvelous book by Anthony Dias Blue called “Thanksgiving Dinner” that I’ve relied on for years. It’s much (much!) easier, but not quite as wonderful.
1 butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves unpeeled
1 cup hot water
2½ cups chicken stock--I’ve used boxed in a pinch, but homemade really is superior
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Brush cut sides with olive oil and place, cut side down, in a glass baking dish. Dump in garlic cloves, water, and the oil that remains after the brushing. Bake for 1 to 1½ hours in a 350F. oven until very soft. When cool enough to handle, scrape out pulp. Squeeze garlic cloves from their skins and add to the squash. Either pulse in a food processor or use an immersion blender to process until the mixture is very smooth. Add the chicken stock about ½ cup at a time until incorporated. Add S&P to taste. Bring to a simmer before serving and adjust seasonings if necessary.
The soup keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully.
My favorite soup at Thankgsiving is a traditional corn chowder. Very easy to make, not too complicated.... corn, red pepper, potatoes, chicken broth, heavy cream, a little onion.... my holiday guests always love my corn chowder soup.