As someone who has spent more than twenty years cooking for a living, I must say I have not had the proper appreciation for the cuisine and preparation of soups, stews, and chilies.
Of course, I could throw together a decent chowder or cassoulet when necessary, but I always considered them as appetizers or lunch items and not really adequate as main courses. Jennie Iverson and her excellent soup cookbook is making me reassess those notions.
Ms. Iverson has compiled a wonderful collection of over a hundred recipes of some of the most appetizing soups, stews and chilies from ski towns and resorts all over the country. They are some of the most delicious soups I have ever tried. This is a huge compliment considering that I have perused literally thousands of cookbooks, magazine articles and cooking shows looking for recipes for the lodges and restaurants that I have either cheffed, managed or helped create.
I have made several of the soups from “Ski Town Soups” myself and am looking forward to trying out several more. Our four mountain area is well represented in Jennie’s book, as she has tapped six local chefs for their best soup recipes. Chef Rob Zack from Eight K Restaurant in Snowmass has his “Creamy Chicken Soup with Fregola, Shitakes and Sage” that looks absolutely delightful — I think this may be my next soup project. The “Venison Chili” from the J-Bar looks fabulous as does Chef de Cuisine Phil House’s “Beef and Barley Stew” from the Merry-Go-Round at Highlands. Chef Chris Lanter from Cache Cache rounds out the local contributions with a “Local French Onion Soup” that looks divine. Though the skiing might not be as good in all those other resorts, the chefs obviously know their business.
My favorite so far has been the “Tuscan Turkey and White Bean Soup” that I shared with a dear friend for an evening of soup, red wine and conversation, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The cooking instructions are generally simple and direct, though attention to finding high quality ingredients and actually following the recipes (something I often neglect) will be amply rewarded.