RECIPES: Better broths serve as bases for fresh fall meals



Each Sunday evening, Stella Dillard of Dandelion Food and Goods starts her weekly e-newsletter with the headline “You need a good meal.”

“I wanted to make it clear that we provide food that is made with care and going to make people feel better for having eaten it,” said Dillard. “We give our customers the opportunity to eat like a chef with super fresh ingredients that have been grown nearby.”

Dillard has done many things in her 15 years of working in restaurants and says one of the things she really enjoyed was making “family meals,” the group meal a restaurant serves its staff usually before peak business hours. “Those meals need to be nutritionally balanced because they have to fuel people to get through an eight-hour shift. And you’re dealing with discerning palates.”

Then came the pandemic and restaurant shutdowns and her friends telling her how much they missed going out to eat. “I told them I could make them restaurant-quality food, and so that was the start of Dandelion Food and Goods, making what were essentially family meals but for my friends.”

Business grew quickly and she moved from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen in Old Fourth Ward. At first, she was selling to a network of friends and friends of friends. In spring 2021, she began selling at the Oakhurst and Ponce City farmers markets. Now she sells at the Oakhurst and Morningside farmers markets on Saturdays and alternates between the Avondale Estates and Grant Park markets on Sundays. She offers online sales for pickup at the commercial kitchen or delivery inside the Perimeter on Thursdays.

Her weekly menu includes a variety of soups, casseroles, and “Serious Salads” full of whatever vegetables she’s getting from local farmers and cheese from local makers.

In fall, the salad might be the customer favorite of black lentils with roasted butternut squash, goat feta and fermented cauliflower greens with basil, walnuts and sweet-and-sour vinaigrette. In summer, it might be a salad made with freshly harvested potatoes with greens, pickled turnips and sliced fennel, all dressed with a punchy, spicy olive vinaigrette.

And no matter what the season, there is always a wide range of soups with omnivore, vegan and vegetarian options.



Many of the soups start with a broth that’s built on an aromatic mix of onion, garlic and ginger. She created a series of what she calls “wonderbroths,” which showcase whatever vegetables are in season. “I am a big believer in building a flavor profile, in thinking about how you layer your salty things and acidic things and sweet things for fuller flavor with all these backup players supporting the main ingredient.”

Her sweet potato wonderbroth is a case in point. It begins with a flavorful vegetable broth that’s built on a foundation of roasted onion, garlic and ginger to bring out the caramel notes and richness of those vegetables. Then she cooks peanuts in the broth to provide body and protein for the soup and adds roasted sweet potatoes, which make the broth rich and creamy, sturdy and delicious enough to eat on its own, especially when seasoned to taste with hot sauce, something sweet such as honey or coconut sugar, and a few drops of something acidic like sherry or apple cider vinegar.

Since Dillard favors soups that are packed full of ingredients like stews, she suggests turning this wonderbroth into a heartier soup by adding black rice and braised greens such as bok choy.

In another season, the wonderbroth might be made from beets, spinach or sweet peppers.

Another customer favorite is her beef curry broth, which reproduces the flavor of a dish she and her partner enjoyed in the United Kingdom. It starts with beef broth made from roasted bones and vegetables and then includes spices, yellow curry paste, makrut lime leaves and coconut milk. On the website, she sells both the broth and beef curry noodle soup, which adds chunks of beef and potatoes, noodles and blanched greens.

Sourcing her meat is just as important as sourcing her vegetables, and she uses grass-fed beef from Stone Mountain Cattle Co. and beef bones from Four Bellies Farm, which sells at the Grant Park and East Atlanta farmers markets.

Her broths take time to make, mostly hands off, because they build upon layers of flavor. Making them at home produces a kitchen filled with rich aromas and provides the foundation for a range of satisfying, nutritionally dense meals.


Stella Dillard of Dandelion Food and Goods shares recipes for three broths that will transform your fall soups.

Credit: Stella Dillard

Credit: Stella Dillard

Sweet Potato Wonderbroth

This broth is delicious on its own, but to turn it into a heartier soup, add cooked black rice and braised greens such as bok choy, and garnish with chopped herbs.

Vegetable Broth

Roasting the vegetables until golden brown and leaving the peel on the onion and garlic provide great depth of flavor for the broth.



Vegan Ramen Broth

This flavorful broth is great for more than just ramen. Consider it as an option for a recipe that calls for vegetable broth. You can make a meal of just the broth alone, although Dillard warns that without protein, it won’t fill you up. To make a ramen bowl, add sauteed or roasted mushrooms, cubes of soft tofu, cooked chuka soba noodles, blanched greens and soft-boiled eggs.



Beef Curry Broth

Dillard suggests that makrut lime leaves, fresh spices in small quantities and a wide array of yellow curry pastes can be found at Buford Highway Farmers Market. For the curry paste, she recommends reading the ingredient lists and trying a few to find your favorite.

Credit: Jo McCune

Credit: Jo McCune

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