Chunky Curried Vegetable Soup

I make soup most days at the moment and really enjoy proving how easy it is to make delicious and very different soups. This one happened when I faced an unpromising collection of vegetables, not enough to do anything much with but easy to upgrade with a squeeze of lemon and generous seasoning of garam masala. The veg are left in big pieces, so it’s a fork and spoon soup that could be added to with scraps of cooked chicken or prawns.

Serves 4
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 45 min

1 banana shallot
knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 trimmed leeks
2 carrots
2 parsnips
3 potatoes
2 tbsp garam masala powder
1 litre chicken stock
1 lemon
handful coriander or flat leaf parsley

Halve the shallot lengthways, trim the ends and peel away the skin. Slice lengthways in thin strips and then across in small scraps. Melt the butter in the oil in a spacious, lidded pan and stir in the shallot. Cook gently, stirring often while you slice the leeks in 1cm thick rounds. Agitate the leeks in water to loosen grit then drain. Stir the leeks into the softened shallots, add a generous pinch salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes or so while you scrape or scrub the carrots and cut in thin rounds. Peel parsnips and potatoes and cut into bite-sized dice. Rinse. Stir the garam masala into the leeks, stirring until disappeared and add a cup of stock, stirring as the liquid thickens. Add the prepared veg and remaining stock. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, semi-cover the pan and establish a steady simmer, cooking for about 15 minutes until the parsnips are tender to the point of a sharp knife. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. Serve with a generous garnish of chopped coriander or parsley.