Some days you just need food that’s quick, hot, cheap, and not going to send you into an early grave. This is that soup. It’s done in five minutes, it tastes good, and it’s endlessly customizable. Don’t have an ingredient? Leave it out. Feeling fancy? Boil some thinly-sliced carrots, celery, and onion in the broth before you add the noodles. So ill you can’t stand up? Skip the noodles, nuke the broth, and eat it on the couch while watching Sleepless in Seattle through a foggy-headed haze. Too irritable to cook and too hungry to wait, but too broke to get curry delivered? This is your soup. The more you swear at the pot, the better it tastes.
If you’ve got broth, heat the broth on the stovetop and cook one serving of glass noodles in that. Bone broth is magnificent, but let’s not get picky here.
What do you mean, you want measurements? Pour the broth into your soup bowl til it looks like enough to fill you up, and then pour it into the pot to heat. If you don’t have glass noodles (ie the clear Chinese noodles that cook almost instantly), use what you’ve got but boil them in a separate pot, then add them to the broth.
If you don’t have broth, heat some water and cook the noodles, then stir in a spoonful of Better than Bouillon. If you don’t have broth or Better than Bouillon or bouillon cubes or a dusty packet of powdered soup mix in the back of the cabinet, maybe rethink trying to make this soup. I mean, you can try, but I make no promises.
If you didn’t use bone broth (for shame) and you’re sick, consider stirring in a packet of gelatin. Nonflavored, of course. What kind of soup do you think we’re making?
Stir in some garlic and ginger. If you’re feeling all fancy go for freshly-minced, but jars of pre-minced are cheap at international groceries, and let’s be realistic here. If you were feeling spiffy you wouldn’t be making a recipe called Poor Bastard Soup. Even dried ground ginger and garlic salt will do in a pinch. Don’t skimp on the garlic, either. It’s Lent, who do you think you’re going to be kissing? Dose it up.
Add some lemon juice. I keep a bottle of lemon juice in the fridge at all times because a quick dash is the fastest way to convince my dinner guests that I know what I’m doing. “Is this lemon juice on roasted broccoli?” “Yes, I read it in Cook’s Illustrated, it elevates the flavors.” Goes with everything.
Or, if you’re feeling guilty because that pathetic-looking lemon is about to go moldy because you never cook and your grandmother would be ashamed of you, toss a couple slices of fresh lemon straight into the pot. No need to squeeze ‘em, this is lazy man’s soup here. I went for fresh lemon, but without the guilt trip. My grandmother couldn’t cook boxed Mac n Cheese.
Stir in some green curry. It comes in tiny glass jars in the international section for about three bucks. Start with a quarter teaspoon if you’re wimpy. If you’re foolhardy or so sick you can’t taste anything anyway, go for a full teaspoon. I wish you godspeed. It’ll cure you or kill you.
Lastly, stir in a little oil–just a teaspoon or so. Coconut oil sounds weird but it tastes great in this, and it’s immune-boosting. Toasted sesame oil is heavenly but I’ve perpetually just run out. Olive oil is an acceptable option too.
Pour it into a bowl, add salt if it needs some, and drink up. If you’re ill, grumpy, or in dire need of food STAT so you don’t defenestrate someone, this is your soup. Poor bastard. It’s almost enough to make you start counting your blessings.
Poor Bastard Soup
Serves one. What? You don’t actually want to share.
Bowlful of broth, or bowlful of water, 2t Better than Bouillon, and 1t gelatin
1 serving glass noodles, or a handful of regular noodles cooked separately and drained
1t minced garlic
1/2t grated ginger
1t lemon juice, or 1 slice of lemon
1/4t green curry paste
1t oil (coconut, sesame, olive)
Salt to taste
Heat broth (or water + bouillon) til boiling and add the glass noodles. Turn it down to a simmer. Stir in spoonfuls of garlic, ginger, green curry, and oil in no particular order. Add lemon juice or lemon slices. Kvetch vehemently about whatever caused you to be making this soup. Salt and enjoy, more or less.