Warm soups for cold Eagle County days | VailDaily.com

Warm soups for cold Eagle County days

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
EAT Terra Bistro2 KA 12-11-07

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” In recent days, weather forecasters have been baffling Vail Valley residents with threats like “thunder snow” and unrelenting calls for flurries. Locals have been coping in several ways.

Some have done the obvious: Stampede the mountain to crush some powder. A less lucky group ” those infected by the flu ” have celebrated by swigging Nyquil in bed. Finally, some of us marked the occasion by taking the turn into the Edwards Riverwalk shopping center too fast, slipping on the ice and crashing their cars into the median.

With paranoia spreading about seasonal depression and lack of vitamin D, I would like to propose a fourth coping mechanism: Soup. Many cooks cite hot soup on a freezing day as one of winter’s delights.

“It’s easy,” said Jenna Johansen, executive chef of Dish Restaurant. “It’s always better the second day and it’s something good that you can freeze and keep for a snowy day.”

Matt Jones, owner of Matthew’s in Edwards, adds that chicken broth can boost the immune system.

Look below to find winter soup recipes from four local chefs. Because the face-mask-wearing masses need warmth.

A Bouillabaisse is a traditional French stew heavy on seafood. With scallops, mussels and shrimp, this dish from executive chef Kevin Nelson certainly fits the description. This classic Bouillabaisse has Spanish touches, Nelson notes.

Translating roughly to “sea soup,” this stew makes for a good winter dish because it’s hearty and rich with carbohydrates, Terra Bistro’s executive sioux chef Vincent Fontanella said.

Caldo Del Mar

Courtesy of Kevin Nelson, executive chef at Terra Bistro in Vail

Serves 2

2 ounces olive oil

6 fresh sea scallops

12 fresh mussels

8 small shrimp

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/4 fresh poblano pepper, julienned

1/2 yukon gold potato cooked and cubed

3 whole peeled roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

8 threads of saffron

zest and juice of half of one orange

1/4 cup white wine

2 cups fish or vegetable stock

salt to taste

fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

2 lime wedges for garnish

Toasted French bread for garnish

Preparation: In a medium sauce pot, heat the olive oil. Lightly brown the scallops and the shrimp (but do not fully cook them) in the olive oil and remove them from the pot and reserve for later. Add potatoes, garlic, and peppers and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Add white wine, stock, tomatoes and orange juice. Bring to a simmer and add mussels. When mussels just start to open, return the scallops and shrimp to the pot.

Add the saffron and the orange zest and let the bouillabaisse simmer until the scallops and shrimp are just slightly cooked through and the mussels are fully opened. (Don’t over cook the scallops and shrimp, remove them from the soup if the mussels are taking too long to open. You can return the shrimp and scallops later if needed). Season with salt. Separate the seafood, vegetables and broth evenly into to serving bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, toasted French bread and a lime wedge.

Juan Anon has been making this soup for 15 years, he said. His grandmother taught him how to make this classic one-pot soup, which he calls his family’s ultimate comfort food.

“It’s very rich and thick,” Anon said. “For winter, its absolutely outstanding. You have the smokey flavor of the sausages, some people do it with no sausage, but this is very traditional in Southern France and Italy.”

Chicken, Sausage and White Bean Soup

Courtesy of Juan Anon, executive chef of the French Press and co-owner of Angelino in Edwards

Serves 8

1 cup onion, julienned

1 cup carrot, small dice

1 cup celery, small dice

2 cups tomato, small dice

2 cups white beans

1/2 cabbage, medium size julienne

1/2 chicken cut in six pieces

2 cups of smoked polish sausage, sliced lengthwise and diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

3 quarts water

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: Place chicken in a hot soup pot, with a little oil. Brown and set aside. Sweat carrots, celery and onions in the same pot and add the chicken back to the pot. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 45 minutes to one hour at low heat. Remove the chicken, pull the bones out and separate the meat into a smaller pieces. Return the meat to the pot, mix and serve.

Matt Jones, owner of Matthew’s in Edwards, says his Texas heritage explains the Guahilla chili peppers in this French onion soup. “Being from Texas, I like red chilis,” Jones shrugs. “I use red chilis a lot. I didn’t just abandon them or anything.” Tracking down these mild but zesty peppers can require some detective work. Jones last found them at a Mexican food market in Denver. He suggests surfing the ethnic food aisle in your local grocery store.

Also unique to this recipe, the organic Vidalia onions and two-cheese topping add sophistication.

“It’s just a nice, warm soup,” Jones said. “Not too filling.”

Matthew’s Organic Southwest French Onion Soup

Courtesy of Matt Jones, owner of Matthew’s in Edwards

Serves 8 to 10

5 organic Vidalia onions

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher Salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 quarts beef broth

2 quarts chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme

3 each dried Guahilla chili

1 cup burgundy wine

2 tablespoons Worcestershire

1/2 French baguette cut in 1⁄4-inch slices and toasted with olive oil

1 pound Fontina cheese, finely grated

3/4 cup Romano cheese

Preparation: Saute onions in olive oil with the salt and pepper until translucent in color and sweet to the taste. Add the Burgundy wine. Reduce by half and add the two broths with the fresh thyme and Guahilla chilies. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes. Scoop into a bowl and place toasted bread inside, then top with Fontina and Romano cheese.

Jenna Johansen, executive chef of Dish Restaurant, says her favorite soup features an often over-looked vegetable. Cauliflower is available year-round but most cooks banish it to the occasional vegetable platter. “I love the taste of it,” Johansen said. “I love the richness of it and I think it’s usually left for crudite platters because people don’t really know how to cook it and make it interesting without loading on cream or cheese.”

To the contrary, this soup trades cream with milk to lighten the texture. “I love the fact that it’s really hearty without being high in fat and it gives the feeling of richness without adding cream so it’s still really healthy but it’s very comforting,” Johansen said of her brand-new recipe.

Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup

Courtesy of Jenna Johansen, executive chef and co-owner of Dish restaurant in Edwards

Serves 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted

1 leek, chopped and rinsed, white part only

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup parsnips, peeled, chopped

2 cups cauliflower florets, cleaned

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water

1 cup whole milk

Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Preparation: In a sauce pan, saute leeks and garlic in melted butter and oil until translucent. Add parsnips. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Do not allow to brown. Add cauliflower and cook for one minute. Add stock and one teaspoon Kosher salt. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Add milk.

Puree soup in blender or food processor until it has a smooth consistency. Season to taste. Heat velvety soup to a simmer before serving. Finish this soup with a spoonful of warm chopped bacon, if desired.

This clam chowder hails from an old family recipe, Gashouse chef Todd Mason said.

A splash of white wine makes the recipe unique. Gashouse chefs typically use a Chardonney but any white variety will do, Mason said. A fixture on Fridays, the chowder is the only soup with a permanent slot on the menu, he said.

“People love it,” Mason said. “We sell out of it all the time.”

Gashouse Clam Chowder

Courtesy of chefs Todd Mason and Fred Nordstrom from The Gashouse in Edwards

Serves 20


3 yellow onions, diced small

1 bunch celery, diced small

10 potatoes , diced small

3 1/2 gallons clam juice

1/2 gallon heavy cream

2 cups white wine

5 pounds chopped clams

2 pounds butter

2 pounds flour

3 tablespoons oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: In a large pot add oil. Saute the onions and celery until cooked (approximately 5 minutes). Add the white wine and reduce until almost dry (au sec). Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and chopped clams. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. Add the heavy cream and bring back to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate pan, melt the butter then add the flour to make a roux (a butter and flour mixture). Cook the roux for approximately 5 minutes on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. While soup is simmering, slowly add in the roux, stirring constantly to thicken. After the roux is added, continue to simmer the soup for five minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 748-2938 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.

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