I've had this idea that working from home was going to consist of quiet days in front of a crackling fire, laptop in hand and a pot of soup lightly gurgling in the back burner of the stove top. That romantic notion quickly turned into a realistic one by the third day I was here, and to be perfectly honest it's been a more challenging adjustment that I would've thought. However, despite my days not looking as book-worthy as I had envisioned, I wouldn't change it for anything.
What is true about my working days though, is the ability to have that pot of soup in the works all day long. Sometimes I let it simmer on the stove far longer than necessary, for it perfumes the house with scents that no store-bought product can compare to. The flavours develop over time and if I keep the heat low enough, it's ready for eating the minute someone is hungry.
This isn't to say that all of my soups spend hours languishing in my favourite pot. In fact, there are plenty of days that I need a meal in a minute, and I wished I had something healthy and hearty to serve up quickly. Thankfully, this white bean and noodle soup is the answer to that problem.
Made in a similar way to good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup, the vegetables cook until tender but not browned, the stock and spices are added, the noodles cooked and the beans tossed in. From start to finish this can be made in twenty minutes. For real. I know most twenty minute meals aren't actually less than forty to put together, but I promise you this one is.
This is a simple soup. One I'm certain my boys could make. So feel free to play with the size of the noodle and the variety of bean. Turn this into a toddler meal by using small round or tubular pasta, or fancy it up by adding a little heat if that's your thing. Your family won't miss the addition of the chicken and whatever you do, definitely pack this in the lunchbox.
Country-Style White Bean and Noddle Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery ribs, trimmed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 litre good quality vegetable stock
- 4 cups water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 handfuls whole-wheat egg noodles
- 2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Add the oil to a dutch oven or soup pot and set over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook until tender, but not browned, about 6 minutes.
Cover the vegetables with stock and water, add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Add the noodles and lower the heat to medium. Cook for eight minutes, or until the noodles are soft.
Add the white beans and heat through. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.