Edible Monterey Bay

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Make this the coziest time of year with our three homemade soups

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Not only does it warm our cold, weary bones in the wintertime, it’s also incredibly simple to prepare, a comforting fact all on its own. These three soups are perfectly delicious as they are, but become gorgeous, restaurant-quality feasts when topped with their respective accoutrements. A crunchy coconut-peanut topping provides a textural punch to a chicken and rice soup, a swirl of creamy yogurt and fresh soft herbs balance the heat in a curried chickpea stew and succulent Dungeness crab is cooked in brown butter and artfully spooned over a puréed celery root soup. It’s time to bust out your biggest soup pots and start simmering.


Red Curry Chickpea Stew

RECIPE: Caroline Chambers
PHOTOGRAPHY: Patrick Tregenza • STYLING: Diane Gsell

Chickpea curries are my ultimate pantry meal. They’re what I throw together when I can’t fathom a trip to the grocery store and have to rely on staple ingredients from the fridge and pantry. By happy accident, I once added too much liquid to my curry, and this soup was born. 

Celery Root and Apple Soup with Brown Butter Crab

RECIPE: Caroline Chambers
PHOTOGRAPHY: Patrick Tregenza • STYLING: Diane Gsell

My husband and I love to go to The Stationaery in Carmel and were thrilled when the café started serving dinner. We attended its first-ever dinner service, and a gigantic bowl of this stunning soup was the first dish that was set before us. The smooth soup brimmed with buttery Dungeness crab, making it reminiscent of an elevated, modern crab bisque. This is an easy-to-make-at-home version of that spectacular dish.

Chicken and Rice Soup

RECIPE: Caroline Chambers
PHOTOGRAPHY: Patrick Tregenza • STYLING: Diane Gsell

Inspired by my travels in Southeast Asia, this simple-to-make soup is punctuated by subtle Asian flavors thanks to an infusion of ginger, lemongrass and soy sauce. The tender rice and chicken are topped with a crunchy coconut and peanut combination for a textural balance that will keep everyone coming back for more.

About the author

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Carmel resident Caroline Chambers grew up in North Carolina, where she was raised on the robust flavors of the South. She has owned and operated a farm-to-table catering company in San Diego and has worked as a recipe developer and stylist for publications and brands including The New York Times, Robert Mondavi Wine, Food Network and MagicChef. Her first cookbook, Just Married (Chronicle Books), was published in October 2018.