One of my standard strategies for using leftovers is to toss them into some chicken broth and call it soup. This is a fine strategy and results in some pretty decent soup, usually. But yesterday’s soup… well, I was in the stirring and tasting and making thoughtful “hmmm,”s stage, when S’s stepson said, “What do you think? Does it need something?”

I replied, “This soup is kickass. I’m pretty sure it’s perfect as is.” After eating a bowl and serving it to other people, my conclusion remains solid. We discussed over the soup what it might have wanted — a squeeze of lemon? A swirl of Greek yogurt? A sprinkle of herbs or green onion? And the group consensus was that it needed nothing and it was time for another bowl.

So, for my own future reference, perfect leftover soup for a cold day (mildly spicy, thick and solid):

In a little butter, sauté an onion in the bottom of the instapot until it is golden brown. Then, because you’re tired of standing around the kitchen, add a tsp or so of Ras El Hanout, even though it’s too early. Mix it in with the onion impatiently, instead of letting it bloom,* and wait another minute. Drain and rinse two cans of chickpeas, and add them, then cover them with chicken broth. The quantity of chicken broth should be enough to cover the chick peas, but not much more than that. Close the instapot and turn on the Soup setting. When it beeps (or sometime later), open it and use an immersion blender to lightly blend the soup until it’s creamy but still chunky. Some of the onion and chickpeas get blended but not all of them.

Then add leftovers. In this case, the leftovers were a chopped-up chicken breast and some roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, so perhaps they were the perfect additions to the chickpea-onion-Ras El Hanout base, but some rice, some pasta, some sausage, some greens would all have been good, too. Let the soup simmer on the Keep Warm setting of the instapot while you wait impatiently for your dinner companions to get home from work. Eat. Say yum!

*The link takes you to an earlier soup recipe where I explain blooming spices in more detail.