When stocking up on ingredients for her Simmering Soup Co., Ruthann Royal buys vegetables, a little meat, and bones…lots and lots of bones. That’s because her chicken and beef bone broths have a loyal following at the small-batch soup booth Royal runs at Barton Creek Farmers Market. “The paleo crowd loves it,” she says.
Royal put a marketing career on hold to raise her children, but when she returned to work last year, she opted to start a food business instead. She’d been overdoing it on salads at the time and hot soup sounded a whole lot better than cold leafy greens. Having never seen any soup vendors at the Barton Creek market, Royal figured she could fill the niche—especially with something as obvious and yet as novel as bone broth on the menu. “People are going back to traditional cooking and eating styles,” says Royal. “And as my grandmother says: broth will cure what ails you. It’s not just good for meal prep, it’s super healthy and packed full of nutrients. I usually sip a cup a day.”
The broth, which requires mostly just bones, water and a few days of simmering, lies at the opposite end of the culinary spectrum from Royal’s other ever-experimental soups. Using local, organic and pasture-raised items (save for some spices here and there), Royal creates four or five different seasonal soups each week for a variety of needs, be they vegan, gluten-free or otherwise. Her 10-spice veggie soup uses blended cashews for creaminess, while the creamy roasted tomato soup eschews cow milk in favor of coconut milk. “When I started, I found there were a lot of eating styles not covered in soups,” she says.
It seems only natural for all that creativity to splash over into her broths, too. Royal is tinkering with ginger-enhanced broths and working to produce the broths faster with a pressure cooker. Though ambitious in these creations, she says she’s in no hurry to expand the business. For now, she’s content with her booth at the farmers market, her presence at Thom’s Market and the handful of private clients she cooks for every week. “I’m a one-woman operation, and if people ask me to do something, I say ‘yes’ until I can’t do it any more,” she says. “But it’s very rewarding to feel like I’m helping people pursue healthy eating.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/simmeringsoupco or call 512-924-9991.
By Steve Wilson