Spring is a gorgeous time of the year, yes, but its also this in between moody time before summer. Sunny and cloudy, leather jacket and mackintosh (you get it), it is a time where you might still be hanging on those comforting winter bowls yet really excited about all the summer produce -and hols- coming up. So let's make this soupy side, with chicken stock so it's nice and nutritious on its own too. Part veggie side, part soup, it's wet, crunchy, fragrant and can be also enjoyed with a piece of poached fish/prawn/clams in there or maybe leftover chicken. Maybe you could also add rice.
Two tricks to the party: 1. Chop your veggies in two-bite-size chunks, so they trult embody the hybridness of this soupy-side. (talk about having existential problems). This way you also have to eat and serve it with chopsticks (because fun). 2. The topping is like confetti: herb shower and an anchovy-garlicky-herb oil. The idea is that the vegetables embrace spring and all the happiness, and the chicken stock + anchovy herb oil invite some far away horizon in your bowl (aka hols).
Needless to say, you can add the vegetables of your choice but this is how I like it.
Make in 20
To prepare the soupy-side:
- Warm the chicken stock in a saucepan.
- Place the garlic, oil, peppercorn and coriander seeds in a pot over a low heat and confit the garlic for 10 good minutes, stirring occasionally, until your kitchen smells wonderfully sweet, and the garlic is golden and soft.
- Raise the heat to medium, add the celery and leek, stir to coat in the oil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the green beans, courgette and asparagus ends (not the tips), cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Ladle in a third of the chicken stock, mix well and simmer until partly absorbed..
- Add the remaining chicken stock, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes and add the asparagus tips and peas if using. Cook for 4-5 minutes and turn the heat off. You want the vegetables to have a nice bite to them.
To make the herb oil:
Simply pulse all of the ingredients in a food processor. Keep in an airtight container and use lavishly when needed, on literally everything.
Simply serve the soupy side in a bowl, top with the herb oil and some fresh herbs of your choice.
For the soupy-side
- 10 garlic cloves, very finely sliced
- Olive oil
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 celery branches, chopped into 4cm lengths
- A handful of fine green beans, ends trimmed and sliced in half
- A small bunch (6) of asparagus, chopped in 4 cm lengths
- 1 small leek, quartered lengthwise and chopped in 4cm lengths (type O avoid)
- 1/2 courgette, quartered lengthwise and cut in 4cm lengths
- A handful of fresh peas
- 500ml chicken stock -homemade preferred
For the herb oil
- 1 anchovy -optional (Avoid on the blood type diet)
- 10g fresh dill
- 10g fresh coriander
- 10g chives
- the zest of a lemon
- 1 garlic clove -optional
- 1/4 dried chili -optional
- 100ml olive oil