I like what’s simmering inside the new Dallas Farmers Market shed. Specifically, Joanne Bondy, classically trained and with decades of kitchen experience, is making stellar soups at Stocks & Bondy.
Pork posole is bright with tomatillos and thick with pulled roasted pork. Deep, dark Texas chili, cozy with spices, uses Burgundy Pasture grass-fed beef. Lobster bisque, finished with port and brandy, sings of lobster without clobbering you with cream. And a wonderful mushroom soup, voluptuous but light, and finished with a dash of sherry, uses shiitake mushrooms from neighboring Market Provisions.
The textures are terrific: brothy and limpid for lighter-bodied soups (Minestrone, chicken noodle); thicker, but not too much, for creamier soups. Each has its own vitality. Meats are well-sourced with primacy placed on the local. I love that she doesn’t over-season or pad. Herbs and vegetable flavors shine. All this to say that Bondy knows her soups.
But there’s another reason to seek out the modest counter tucked into a corner of the partly remodeled shed. It’s the tea-infused bone broth.
Bone broth is the product of long simmering. Roasted bones are simmered till their nutritional components—minerals, amino acids, collagen—break down, creating a broth rich in body, but light (we’re not talking milky tonkotsu). Its popularity is part of the resurgence of age-old practices—foraging, curing, heirloom sourcing–and it appeals to a Paleo crowd as well.
In 2014, New York chef Marco Canora opened Brodo (Italian for broth), a bone-broth dispensary window out of his hip East Village restaurant Hearth. Portland, too, soon had its Broth Bar. Soon you could sip cupfuls in Chicago, Boulder, L.A. By early 2015, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine were hailing it as “winter’s new miracle drink” and “the new liquid lunch.” And should there be any doubt as to the restorative, nutrition-minded profile of this new (old!) elixir, places offered garnishes like kelp or grated turmeric, fermented beet juice or sauerkraut, ginger and bone marrow.
But what Bondy does is something special I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Aside the fact of her sourcing (if I’m going to have bone broth, I want to know it’s not just any old bones whose essence we’re extracting!), Bondy infuses her stocks with tea from the Cultured Cup for a marvelous concoction in which the tea adds a beguiling depth of flavor. This is not just soothing; it’s delicious. She rotates the teas, infused with a cheesecloth sachet for an hour. One day it might be basil-lemon oolong, the next day something entirely different–the novelty of each new pairing is part of the appeal.
One grey afternoon, the synergy of chicken stock with an apple-almond black tea (Cultured Cup’s Almond Amen) tugged at something deep in me with its flavor fruity, almost floral. (I’ve also dreamed of dipping noodles through a version that might be enhanced with something earthy and smoky, maybe pu-erh or lapsang souchong.)
So yes it’s a trend. But aside all the buzz, there’s something here. Sip. Relish. It’s as simple as that.
Hot soups are available Wed-Sun 11am-3pm as well as in quarts stocked in the cold case. But the tea-infused broth is all counter-culture. For me, it’s become a coveted lunch-hour elixir.