I’m not sure what I should call this dish. It’s more than a soup, but not quite a stew. Maybe it’s a stoup (you’re laughing now, but just wait till “stoup” makes its way into the Oxford English Dictionary—take that, mochaccino). Well, no matter what you call it, I think you’ll find yourself singing its praises often, as this is really a hearty, yummy recipe. This is an instance where putting everything into a simmering broth rather than onto a plate lets some culinary alchemy take place. The result is a feast for the mouth and a source of soothing warmth for the body. This is one of my favorite soups to make when I have leftover chicken in the fridge.
Sometimes you just want some crunch in your life, and, boy, do these parsnip chips fill the bill. I use a mandolin to slice the chips paper-thin, then give them a quick bath of olive oil, salt, and curry powder. Into the oven they go, and then comes the hard part; letting them cook slowly. We’re talking 300°F instead of 450°F, which is the difference between getting a perfect chip versus one that’s charbroiled. These chips are like cookies; let them cool for a few minutes and you won’t believe how crunchy and yummy they are. Place them on top of of soups and salads for a truly transcendent taste.
Garlic has a long list of health benefits: antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antivampiric (okay, I admit it’s been hard to find research studies on that last one), and much, much more. Garlic lovers will gravitate toward this soup, but I want to convince those of you who say, “Garlic? Eww!’ to try it. Those overwhelmed by garlic’s natural pungency will delight in how roasting transforms the garlic into a caramelized, sweet-smelling delight. In this recipe, roasted garlic is simmered in the broth, adding to the gentle mellowing. Further fortified with Yukon gold potatoes, thyme, pepper, onion, and a spritz of lemon, this nutritious soup will arm you to the teeth . . . so to speak.
My first internship when I got out of culinary school was in the kitchen at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, where they had an entire wall filled with dozens and dozens of spices. I swear that wall looked like a piece of art—in the form of a jigsaw puzzle that I had to figure out. The way you knew you had earned your stripes in the kitchen was when the executive chef finally let you make their famous dahl. Wouldn’t you know, the very first time I made it, an honest-to-goodness Indian saint had come to visit. There are rules regarding saints, and at mealtime, the first and foremost is that no one can try the dahl before she does. I must have done something right, because she tasted, smiled, and kissed me gently on the forehead. I treasure that memory, and also appreciate the experience of making that dahl because it taught me that spices—which have phenomenal healing properties—can be the heart of a dish, rather than an add-on to enhance flavor. Here, the blending of spices is what really gives this dish its power, both nutritionally and on the palate.
Tell some people every ingredient in a dish and they’ll never try it. But if you wait until after they’ve tasted a to go into full disclosure, they’ll be pleasantly stunned at what they’ve just eaten. This gluten free meatloaf is kept moist by mushrooms—the idea of my cooking buddy Catherine McConkie—and has great umami flavor from anchovies. Just wait until they’ve tried it to tell your guests.