Simple soups are great for the January slump, when you don’t want to be fussing about making anything too complicated, but you need a warming and comforting bowl of food. This spiced parsnip and apple soup will do the job: make a batch and keep it in your fridge, ready to heat up for an easy meal. The addition of lentils make it hearty and filling, and the spices make it a bit more interesting than its plainer cousins.

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Bramley apples are the definitive English cooking apple: sour and juicy, they work very well here, lending a little sweetness when cooked and complementing the soup’s spices. Parsnips are one of my favourite root vegetables. Cheap, readily available, easy to prepare, with a satisfying nutty flavour, they are wonderful in soups. Both apples and parsnips are in season in January, and should be easy to find and at their best for this parsnip and apple soup.

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Ingredients

Generous knob of butter
1 white onion, thinly sliced
600g parsnips, peeled and cut into roughly 2cm chunks
2 tbsp curry powder (or less, if you don’t like your food a bit spicy)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 garlic cloves, crushed
150g dry red lentils
300g Bramley apples, peeled and cut into chunks
1 litre vegetable stock
100ml cream
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander and cream, to finish

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat until foaming. Add the onion and the parsnips. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices, garlic, lentils, and apples. Stir well, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the parsnips are totally soft.
  3. Blitz the soup until smooth, either with a stick blender or in a food processor. Stir in the cream. Taste and season. Serve with a drizzle more cream and some chopped fresh coriander, if you like.