You might not have noticed but this soup is chock full of bits and bobs under the surface. It is a neat trick of mine, to make a 10 minute soup that surprises anyone who happens to be in the kitchen. Now it can be your trick too.
The secret is to have some broth handy (I always keep some in the freezer), or make a quick one with some miso paste, a little soy sauce and mirin. You can even puree some tomatoes and thin the puree with water for your soup base. Use vegetable water, or some water left over from cooking lentils. Even throw some herbs in water, vegetable water or thinned pasta water, simmer and drain – a lovely summer soup base. Today I used some left over Indian broth, the remainder of a kuzhambu that was in the freezer, thinned with pasta water. Divine.
This soup takes 10 mins – the time taken to heat the broth, cook some tiny pasta (if you are including it), and chop veggies.
Broth and Bits Soup
This is a soup for all seasons and has infinite variations. Take some broth/stock. It can be light and summery, or thick and Wintery.
In Winter, pasta makes a great key ingredient for the additions. Cook some tiny shell pasta (conchigliette), orzo pasta or those tiny rounds of pasta (tubeti or anellini). Chop some fresh herbs – dill, parsley and/or coriander – and 1 or 2 tomatoes (tiny dice). Add small-diced cooked vegetables – leftovers from the day before are fine. Sweet potato, broccoli, potato and/or pumpkin. Baby spinach leaves are ok to add raw. Some cooked white, brown or wild rice. I like to add the shredded greens from spring onions. Season with salt and pepper and add a little of something sour if it needs it – lemon or lime juice, verjuice or bitters.
In Spring, pasta and peas make great key ingredients. Tiny broad beans can be added raw or simmered briefly. Finely sliced mushrooms can be added. Asparagus tips. I still the pasta, tomato, herbs and spring onion. Chives are a great addition too. Snow peas, shredded lengthwise, pea shoots and tiny-sliced beans are all candidates for a green and healthy Spring soup. Add a tiny piece of butter to each bowl – divine.
In Summer, choose a light broth and float finely sliced vegetables in it. Mushrooms, zucchini, bok choy, for example. Bean shoots. Peas. Diagonally sliced beans. Puree half a tomato and add. Summer also means that coconut milk based broths can also be used. The one I have linked to is quite spicy, but simpler and gentler broths can also be made.
As the weather cools in Autumn, reintroduce the tiny pasta or use some cooked lentils or other grains – quinoa, freekeh, barley, chickpeas. Instead of pasta, some Asian noodles can be used. Saute some onions for a nice addition. Cooler season vegetables are starting to appear on the shelves again, so add small diced turnips or radish, the last of the zucchini, also small diced. Some cooked butternut pumpkin. Don’t forget to raid the fridge for leftovers that can be cut into tiny dice and added.
You can be so creative with this dish – and it is a great vehicle for using leftovers or end-of-week fridge ingredients. Enjoy!