Bowl of Goodness- Smokin’ Bowls, Rockingham and Winhall, VT
WTS has always stood by the mantra “a great bowl of soup can be found anywhere.” Even if it is a shack on the side of the road. Smokin’ Bowls in Rockingham and Winhall, VT is that shack on the side of the road. Throngs of hungry boarders and skiers flock to Stratton and Bromley mountain for their winter adventures and Smokin' Bowls is part of the tradition.
As I pulled up on opening day last week, cars passing by beeped thier horns to pay homage to SB's return. That day, I was fortunate enough to sample quite simply, one of the best soups I have ever tasted.
You know when you participate in a blind wine tasting event and you find that most delicious swig comes from the simplest and most unassuming ingredients? Well, when I took that first sip of Honey Roasted Parsnip Bisque my mind went immediately to the delicate artistry that must have been involved in making it. Parsnips are my favorite vegetable. I was later to find out how simple creating this delicacy was, and was given a recipe to boot!
Sarah DiBernardo , Co-owner, Executive Chef and Business Partner to Ryan James, could not have been more humble in sharing some of their trade secrets. Sarah concocts these divine flavors using simple, locally sourced ingredients. The produce is from longtime favorites like Pete's Farm Stand in Walpole NH. Fischer Farm in Springfield, VT supplies Smokin’ Bowls with their top notch beef. Sarah informs me that during the busy fall/winter months they can serve upwards of 450 bowls of soup on any given Sunday to the après skiers/boarders/hikers making their way home after a good days run in the mountains.
The majority of soups are gluten free and a daily sampling of five or so specials are posted on a chalkboard. Offering up vegetarian and vegan soups posted next to the long standing favorites like Cheech and Chong Chili. you are bond to find something you like. The Chili is not too spicy and loaded with goodies with a mild smoky flavor. Opening day presented, Apple-Onion-Cider-Smoked Cheddar and Harvest Vegetable Saffron Lentil to name a few. For the folks who seek heartier fare, SB’s prepares dishes like a BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich on a pretzel bun served with cole slaw.
Soup is presented either in 16oz, compostable cups coffee cups (as an afterthought I thought.. brilliant idea, as I easily consumed the rest as I drove home enjoying the foliage with no need for a spoon) or in 1 quart or 1/2 gallon Mason Jars to go... cold or hot. They charge an extra dollar for the jar but you can come back for a refill at anytime without the dollar charge.
As I left this “soup love shack” in this picturesque little mountain town in Vermont, I had a full belly and an empty heart.
Why couldn't I live closer.
Sarah’s No fuss Recipe for Honey Roasted Parsnip Bisque... make it very easily, in any amount.
Peel parsnips and leave whole.
Place on baking sheet or roasting pan, drizzle with salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil.
Then drizzle with honey.
Roast in oven for awhile till’ the parsnips and honey start to caramelize @ 350 degrees. 1 to 1 1/2 hours
Take out of oven and put parsnips in pot.
Pour in vegetable stock (or water) and just cover the parsnips.
Bring to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer and simmer till’ parsnips are soft.
Add in heavy cream to your likeness and bring back up to a simmer.
Puree with an immersion blender or puree in a blender (BE CAREFUL!!).
Taste and re-season if necessary with more salt and pepper or honey.
Rte. 103 after the I-91 overpass.
And at the intersection of VT11 and 30 by Stratton and Bromley
7 days a week from 11 AM to 7 PM from October to Mid April.
No determined day of closing-just whenever the snow melts!
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