Thanksgiving Soup Recipes to Start the Feast
Starting your Thanksgiving dinner with an elegant soup is a bit like dipping your toe into the pool before jumping off the high-dive. It's a slow warm-up, a gentle easing in to what is, for many of us, the biggest meal of the year. Fall ingredients and flavors are a natural for soup, too—think of all those hearty root vegetables, and how wonderfully they transform into silky purées. Or of how nicely fall spices like ginger and cloves blend into a creamy spoonful of soup.
The Thanksgiving soups here run the gamut from traditional to inventive, and incorporate autumn superstars, such as the honeynut squash and parsnip combination shown here, as well as pumpkin, butternut squash, apple, and pear. There are loads of luxurious purées, such as a Leek-and-Parsnip Soup with Caviar and Black-Pepper Cream (and the caviar needn't break the bank); Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup; Harvest Pumpkin Soup; and Butternut Bisque. And wow-worthy garnishes—herbed crostini, caramelized cauliflower florets, thin slices of baked pears—make them feel extra-special.
One word of advice, considering the many dishes to come: Don't overdo it on the portions. You can place the bowls on a larger plate to look more complete and balanced. And now's the time to break out your soup tureen, if you have one. If not, any pretty pot or large serving bowl will work just fine.
Finally, busy cooks, rejoice: Most of these soups (and many of their garnishes) can be prepared far in advance.
Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Leek-and-Parsnip Soup with Caviar and Black-Pepper Cream
Ginger Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons
Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup
Harvest Pumpkin Soup
The combination of puréed pumpkin, potato, and turnip result in a soup that's a perfect mix of sweet and savory. There's a hint of thyme, too, which adds lovely flavor.
Here's another bowl that's definitely a notch about your usual Thursday evening soup. It features sophisticated roasted chestnuts and cremini and shiitake mushrooms—but it's surprisingly straightforward to make.
Creamy Winter Squash Soup with Herbed Crostini
Pear and Autumn-Vegetable Soup
Creamy Broccoli-and-Spinach Soup
Creamy Mushroom Soup
Fresh wild mushrooms combined with dried porcini and morels make for an elegant starter with rich flavor. This creamy soup gets extra depth from Madeira wine or cognac.