Chilly Weather Has Folks Hankering for Favorites

“I live on good soup, not on fine words,” Moliere once said.


The quote from France’s Shakespeare applies to Brian Flanders’ rich black bean chili. A cup goes a long way to chase away the chill penetrating the bones these late fall days in Maine. J.M. Gerrish Provisions’ very popular soup, topped with a dollop of sour cream and Cheddar cheese, has a pleasing texture. The savory black beans are firm, seasoned with a hint of cilantro and garnished with scallions.

“Black beans are so underused and underrated,” lamented the Winter Harbor chef who took over the landmark Main Street business last May. Several hours before sleet and flurries swirled in last Thursday, Flanders was busily cooking up a mushroom bisque in his restaurant’s spotless kitchen. Chanterelles, shiitakes, portobellos and hen-of-the-woods were among the dried fungi destined for the soup.

Also on the menu was clam chowder.

“The key is to use even portions of bacon and pork fat,” explained the Bangor-born chef, who has cooked with some of the most famous American chefs including Maine’s own Sam Hayward of Fore Street in Portland, the James Beard Foundation’s 2004 Best Chef Northeast, and acclaimed French chef Daniel Boulud, whose Restaurant DANIEL in York was named one of the 10 best restaurants in the world by the International Herald Tribune, just to name a few.


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