Roadrunner Food Bank's Souper Bowl fills stomachs and hearts for its ninth year
By Laura Marrich
Marketing director Jasmin Holmstrup (left) stands with Melody Wattenbarger, executive director of Roadrunner Foodbank, in the nonprofit organization’s southeast Albuquerque warehouse.
Winter nights and bowls of soup are as natural together as clam chowder and oyster crackers. (Or, here in the Land of Enchantment, red chile and posole.) Nothing shakes the chill from your bones or sets the world right quite like it. Ask your parents. Soup maintains a place of honor in almost every family's arsenal of magic potions: It is transformative in its ability to comfort.
A typical scene at the Souper Bowl.
Nine Januaries ago, Roadrunner Food Bank had the good sense to apply soup's healing properties on a much grander scale. The first Souper Bowl fundraiser saw food bank supporters sample chowders, stews and consommés from a handful of area restaurants. Last year, a sold-out house of more than 975 eager tasters slurped their way through soups and desserts from 27 restaurants. The Roadrunner Food Bank's eighth Souper Bowl was their most successful yet, with about $50,000 raised for the local charity organization. They hope to smash that record this year, when the Souper Bowl turns nine on Saturday, Jan. 27. Come hungry. It takes a lot of soup to keep this food bank afloat.
Among the top honors in last year's competition was a simple yet sophisticated take on traditional posole, enriched with lobster meat and rock shrimp, created by Executive Chef Heath VanRiper of Prairie Star Restaurant. It won the restaurant Third Place in the event's People's Choice Awards.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, small diced
12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground chile pequin
6 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and small diced
6 cups canned white hominy, rinsed and drained
2 cups chopped green chile
4 cups red chile sauce
10 cups shrimp stock
2 pounds rock shrimp
1 pound lobster claw and knuckle meat, picked free of shell pieces
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed and minced
Kosher salt to taste
1) In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add onions and lightly sauté until translucent. Add garlic and oregano, bay leaves and chile pequin. Sauté for 1 minute. 2) Add the tomatoes, hominy, chile and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 30-40 minutes.3) Add the seafood and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt to taste. Serve piping hot.
The Restaurants of Souper Bowl 2007
Ambrozia Artichoke Café Chef Du Jour CNM Culinary Institute Damon's Fine Cuisine Do It Dinners Embassy Suites Flying Star Cafés Geckos Bar & Tapas Great American Land & Cattle Company Gruet Grille Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town Jinja Bar & Bistro JohnDhi's BBQ Le Café Miche The Melting Pot Pinkie's Catering Prairie Star Ranchers Club of New Mexico Santa Ana Café at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Scalo Northern Italian Grill Seasons Rotisserie & Grill St. Clair Winery & Bistro St. James Tearoom Theobroma Chocolatier Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro
The Ninth Annual Roadrunner Food Bank Souper Bowl
When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: The Roadrunner Food Bank warehouse at 2645 Baylor SE, near Gibson and Yale
Cost: Adult tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door. Children 12 and under are just $5. This event is limited to 1000 guests, so advanced tickets are recommended as a sellout is expected. For tickets or more information, contact Roadrunner Food Bank at 247-2052 ext. 129, or visit their website at www.rrfb.org.