Central Oregon gets more than its share of bright, sunny days—but when the skies are dark and the wind is blowing, as it was this past weekend, almost nothing rivals a hot bowl of soup for warming comfort. Soup can be something of an afterthought on many local menus, relegated to the bottom of the page; treated as an add-on to other, bigger dishes. But with a hearty loaf or a crusty baguette (Midtown Market, Jackson's Corner and the Village Baker are among the purveyors offering wonderful breads ready for soup-dipping), soup can become a bona fide meal. Add in a bottle of your favorite vino and you have cold-weather perfection.
In honor of soup season, some local chefs weighed in about their favorites.
"I love making a smooth creamy soup that tastes amazing and can also warm your soul," said Josh Podwils of Loyaute and executive chef at Elixir Wine Group (and voted Best Chef in our Best of Central Oregon 2021 readers' poll). "The three soups that I love are a Coconut Tomato Bisque, Coconut Sweet Potato and Roasted Jalapeno and a Broccoli Cheddar. All three of these soups are amazing!"
At Joolz in downtown Bend, co-owners Juli and Ramsey Hamdan take advantage of the season's mushroom bounty to make soups at home.
"Personally, we make mushroom soups with what we seasonally forage. Our favorite is black trumpet Hungarian mushroom soup, and smoked turkey chanterelle chowder," Juli Hamdan told the Source Weekly.
On the professional side of things, this time of year brings a warming dish to Joolz, with "a Lebanese-inspired elk chili that has garbanzo beans, feta, tabbouli and fritos."
Butternut squash is, of course, also a favorite among local restauranteurs.
"Fall is my favorite season and butternut squash my go-to seasonal veggie," said Menoula Stanitsas of Kefi Fast Fresh Mediterranean. "While most focus on the mighty pumpkin we at Kefi create magic with butternut squash, roasting apples with our squash to bring out a natural sweetness to this vegan soup. Sage and a mixture of other herbs and spices add depth, while roasted chopped pumpkin seeds add a bit of crunch to this seasonal comfort."
Also a fan of butternut squash is Sierra Phillips of Bo's Felafel Bar, where butternut squash soup is on the menu this week as a special. As a special treat for the season, Phillips shared her recipe with readers:
Sierra's Butternut Squash Soup1 butternut squash
1 tart green apple
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon sage
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 can of coconut cream
1.5 cups broth (chicken preferred, but veg works)
Roast the squash however you prefer. Peel it, cube it and set aside. Chop the apple. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté garlic, onions and half the apple until apple softens. Add the squash, half the sage, the maple and the remaining butter. Get everything coated in butter. Add the broth. Let it simmer until the apples get reeeeal soft. Transfer to a suitable container for blending and add the rest of the apple. Blend until smooth. Add back to the pot and stir in coconut cream, simmer until it smells good. Add the pepper and salt at the end and stir. Serve with fried sage and pomegranate seeds on top!