It’s at this time of year that I begin to miss soups, even before I actually stop making them. I push soup season for as long as I can and keep soups on my weekly menu plans until the end of May or early June, if it’s still cool enough. In fact, I don’t typically stop making soups over the summer, at least not entirely. I just slow it down. I get one or two hot soups in before the summer months are over, not because they are seasonal, but because some seasonal ingredients work so well in soups, but more importantly because I love soups in any season.
I’m not sure from where the inspiration for this soup came except for the fact that I enjoy soups and love quinoa. Quinoa is now being added to almost everything, soups, chillies, tacos, etc., but as one of many ingredients, and it frustrates me because I never seem to get my quinoa fill. This is a light, brothy soup with plenty of quinoa swimming in a saffron, lemony pool packed with sweet leeks, loaded with parsley and rounded by a soft hit of pepper. It’s intricate simplicity at its best.
You can have fun with this soup by changing up the broth. A sweetcorn broth works quite nicely, as would a carrot, parsnip, or fennel broth. A single shredded carrot or parsnip is also a nice addition.
This is a fast weeknight meal that can be made in 30 minutes or so and a complete vegetable protein!
As I lament the upcoming “hiatus” from soups, I must admit that I am tired of the winter grade produce and am wildly anticipating the spring goodies. Oversized bunches of asparagus sit in my fridge as I decide how to celebrate the debut of spring.
But for just a little while, I’m going to sit on the fence as I reminisce about the days of winter now gone and await the fresh bundles of spring. So, enjoy a hearty bowl of soup as you awaken from the winter’s slumber and delicately step into spring.
|Olive oil||1/4 cup + 1|
|Garlic, cloves, minced||3|
|Chili flakes||1/8 tsp|
|Broth, vegetable||10 cups|
|Saffron, pinches, generous||3|
|Zest, lemon, small||1|
|Juice, lemon||1 tsp|
1. In a medium pot, over medium heat, heat oil.
2. Add leeks and sauté for 5-7 until softened, but not browned.
3. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for a couple of minutes.
4. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
5. Add quinoa, salt, black pepper, 3/4 of the parsley, saffron, turmeric, and lemon zest and simmer for 15 minutes (or until quinoa is cooked – check package directions).
6. Add lemon juice and remaining parsley and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
7. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of baby watercress.