Jimmy and I had our inaugural holiday together: Thanksgiving. As a non-US native, I was a little hesitant about the Thanksgiving tradition. When I arrived in the US 16 years ago, I had never seen a full-grown turkey, and suddenly seeing what looked like an overgrown chicken on a table top was shocking, even a little vulgar. However, with it came everything that I could and liked to eat – a rarity for a then-picky eater like me: mashed potatoes, green beans, pecan pie and delicious, almost other-worldly stuffing.
Since then, Thanksgiving has become more to me than a dinner to which I look forward. It’s the cultural holiday all Americans share, the one day that families break bread and come together to be thankful. In a country where people have SO much, it has always felt right to have a holiday where you start the evening devoted to going around a table and saying that you’re grateful for what you have. Christmas has a special magic to it, but Thanksgiving spurs that warm Christmas spirit. Thank you for all that we have; let’s share the wealth and keep on giving.
To start the holidays with a fresh, almost cleansing start, here’s a recipe of bright red beet soup.
The recipe below was adapted from The Food Network here.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound white mushrooms, trimmed, wiped clean, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5 medium beets
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut across into 1/4-inch rounds
1 very small or 1/2 large celery root (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds mashing potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 small white cabbage (about 3/4 pound), cored and shredded
3 large cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and very finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium bunch dill, fronds only, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Coarsely chopped dill
Boiled potatoes, optional
In a tall narrow stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Stir in the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
Add the beets, carrots, parsnip, celery root, 8 cups water, and the mushroom soaking liquid. bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, cabbage, garlic, and, if using, the beet greens. Dissolve the tomato paste in 1/2 cup of the liquid and stir back into soup. Return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the reconstituted mushrooms and simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the dill, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Pass bowls of chopped dill and sour cream at the table.