The art of holiday meal planning often lies in how many risks the cook is willing to take.
Between the food selection, ingredients, cooking space, time of execution, and hungry guests peeking in for a sample or two, there is a level of chaos one must be willing to live with if they are going to run the show.
But the holidays call for many things from the other participants as well: Warm hospitality from hosts; conversation that is both meaningful and entertaining from the guests; food that is weighty and lasting, but not threatening to put the room to sleep. [But perhaps that’s not always a bad thing.]
It is impossible to traverse every little detail of holiday season without imperfections cropping up. But it is possible to create a meal that is elegant, delicious, interesting, and light enough for seconds.
At the end of the day, holiday meals are more than the food itself – it’s an art form, a bridge between parties, an experience that can be undeniably special.
Miso Butternut Squash Soup:
- 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic ( smashed )
- 1 large leek ( cleaned and sliced )
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 1 large butternut squash soup
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar ( balsamic can work )
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the leek, garlic. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Add the squash and the miso paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is covered in the miso paste and the miso is caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender. Return the soup to the pot and reheat over medium heat. Stir in the vinegar. Serve the soup in warm bowls. Garnish with pecans or pumpkin seeds.