Soups like this are a nice way to start the meal. They warm you through, they’re quick and easy to serve and they can be made well in advance. Puree soups like this can be made in bulk and stored in your freezer for at least a few months. You can defrost it overnight and warm it through in a pot on the day and adjust the seasoning as necessary just before serving.
In this recipe there are a few different components to add texture and flavour. There is a fried crumbly celeriac coating that will keep for a few days as long as it’s kept dry. The roast or sauteed celeriac can be cooked the day before and warmed through in the oven as you heat up your soup. The herbs and fresh garnishes like the pomegranate jewels can also be picked the day before and kept in a small container lined with damp paper towels.
When there’s no discernable loss of quality in the food you’re going to be preparing, don’t kill yourself to have everything cooked fresh on the day. If you’re more likely to mess something up or stressing to the point that you’re not enjoying yourself in the kitchen then its just not worth the fuss.
Whatever protein you decide to go for, keep in mind this is going to be the star of the show so make it count. Whether you roast a chicken, a turkey, a prime rib or a pork belly, you want to make sure that it’s cooked just right. Invest in a probe thermometer and know what temperature you’re aiming for so you know when to remove things from the oven. Pull your meat out a few degrees below your desired internal temperature and allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes. The temperature will slowly increase and the muscle fibres of the meat will relax and won’t give off as much juice when cut.
Cuts like this will need to be cooked or at least finished on the day. For example a turkey should be cooked and served as soon as it’s out of the oven and done resting. If you want to up the flavour of your joint of meat it may be worth looking into seasoning it with a cure or a brine well before you start cooking. Additionally, allowing the surface moisture of the meat to dry out in the fridge overnight is an easy trick that will dry out the surface of the meat, concentrating the flavours and allowing the surface to brown easily in the oven.
You can make your pan sauce while your meat rests but often it is a good idea to cheat and make a sauce in advance with some stock you had saved up. You can always deglaze your pan drippings and blend them into your finished sauce for more flavour.