Last year my group of girlfriends started a new tradition.
We were to celebrate Thanksgiving a week early and dub it Friendsgiving – an all out, gut busting, eating extravaganza to be shared with your closest friends on a holiday normally spent with your family.
This year at Friendsgiving 2.0 our turkey chef decided a theme was needed instead of everything just bringing something. We were to celebrate traditional, whether it be family or traditional Thanksgiving the decision was up to you.
As I thought about what I wanted to make, I decided to put together a family tradition and one that went with what the Pilgrims actually ate at their Thanksgiving. I think at this point most of us know that the Pilgrims enjoyed seafood at their Thanksgiving not turkey, so for me I wanted to include some sort of shellfish into my dish. Then it hit me, my family always started with a soup course and while not traditional in most homes it is in mine!
I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes in this recipe, while slightly more expensive than other canned tomatoes these taste like how tomatoes should taste. They are sweet and bright and when they are the star of your meal you need the best.
I ugh, also highly recommend using caution when squeezing these puppies, as they are extra juicy and this might happen to your stove (or glasses, shirt, chocolate cake that happens to be cooling next to the pot on the stove (that didn’t happen…))
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock (homemade is best)
2 dry bay leaves
3 cans San Marzano Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1lb pasteurized flake crabmeat
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil, then add the diced onions. Cook 7-8 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and let cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the flour and let cook about a minute. Then stir in the tomato paste and let cook about a minute or two more to fully cook out the raw flour taste.
Whisk in the chicken stock and add the bay leaf and bring up to a boil.
With clean hands crush the tomatoes into the pot with their juices from the can. Add the red pepper flakes and season again with some salt and pepper.
Bring back up to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves.
Take the soup off the heat and with an immersion blender blend the soup until smooth. If you like the soup a little chunky, blend until your desired consistency.
If you do not have an immersion blender, let the soup cool for 30 minutes and transfer to a blender to puree. You will need to do this multiple times. Check again for seasoning and if needed add more salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon into a bowl and top with a heaping portion of crabmeat.
Finally I leave you with our spread from Friendsgiving. At the bottom we are pulling charms from a pull charm cake – which is actually a Victorian wedding tradition that we incorporated into ours. You can read about it here.