Mountain Style: Soup’s Up

Laina Shill’s Glory Bowl soups offer locals an artisanal “hug.”

By Mel Paradis // Portrait by Kisa Koenig // Recipe by Laina Shill

When Laina Shill purchased Glory Bowl Soup Company from founders Price Gilroy and Ramsie Rue in 2014, she knew she’d made a solid investment. Word on the street was that people loved having delicious soup delivered to their doors.

“I couldn’t believe someone thought of this before I did,” Shill shares. “I think it is in the genetic makeup that some people just need to feed others.” Feeding others is something Shill had already been doing through her “addictive” condiment business, Teton Pepper Friends.

After the purchase, Shill stuck with Glory Bowl’s model of delivering soup and 460° Bread to homes and drop-off locations in Jackson, Wilson, and Teton Valley. But she also added other offerings, like eggs from her flock and a rotating assortment of condiments, including her Teton Pepper Friends sauces, herbed goat cheese spread, and chicken liver pâté. Shill rapidly diverged from the original recipe book, too. Instead, she honed in on customer favorites and added her own flair with international additions like Duck and Crawfish Gumbo, Brazilian Moqueca (fish stew), and Ukrainian Beef Borscht. “It’s amazing that you can travel the world culturally through soup,” she says.

Shill ups the ante by using local meat and cheese in her soups, broths, and condiments. Her backyard-raised chickens and turkeys provide all the meat and broth for her poultry-based soups, and she utilizes local sources, such as the 4-H auction, for her pork and beef needs. Additionally, the chèvre for her herbed goat cheese spread comes from a Teton Valley goat farmer.
So, what’s next for Glory Bowl Soup Company?

Shill would like to expand her market. “A lot of people live alone … or have a hard time getting out. I introduced pint-size jars last year, hoping to reach more of the elderly population,” she explains. Senior citizens receive a 10 percent discount on their soup orders, and people can give “soupscriptions” as gifts, too. ”I think soup—unlike other foods—is comfort, is healing, is like getting a big hug. And it’s great because you can order it! You can’t always order up a hug,” Shill says.

Roasted butternut squash soup

Makes 4 servings or a half-gallon

I love the pristine simplicity of this soup. It’s perfect for a chilly fall day when local squash is fresh off the vine.

3 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise,
seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt
1 medium yellow onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
12 sprigs fresh thyme (approx. 1/8 oz.)
6 sprigs fresh sage (approx. 1/8 oz.)
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (plus more for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup whipping cream (plus more for drizzle)

1. Halve squash. Drizzle and coat with olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Place cut-side down on baking pan and roast at 350˚ F for 1 hour, or until tender.  Remove from oven, flip, and allow to cool.
2. While squash roasts, chop onions coarsely. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot; add onions and garlic. Caramelize over medium-low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add stock to pot once onions are caramel in color.
3. Strip the leaves off of half of the fresh thyme and sage; reserve. Tie remaining sprigs in a bundle with cotton thread and add to pot with bay leaves. Cover and bring to a medium boil for 15 minutes.
4. Add nutmeg and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and uncover. Remove bay leaves and herb bundle.
5. Scoop squash from skins and add to soup with the reserved whole thyme leaves and chopped sage leaves. Puree soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor.
6. Add cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with stock, if desired.
7. Serve in bowls and garnish with cream and ground nutmeg.