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MM’s Cheap Eats: Hearty vegetable soup

By Melanie Hughes

MM’s in-house gourmet returns with another one of her delicious, low-budget creations. If you’re struggling to cope with the cold, what better way to warm yourself up than a hearty vegetable soup?

Hearty Vegetable Soup

Serves 4

1 large turnip

6 medium-sized carrots

2 small parsnips

1 leek

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 pint of chicken stock

1 pint of vegetable stock

Pinch of cumin

Salt and pepper

Fresh parsley (for decoration)

Red lentils or potatoes (optional)

This is a great recipe to keep you warm in the winter months and get loads of vegetables into your diet in a delicious way!

I prefer to blend the vegetables but you can have it unblended if you like so you don’t necessarily need a blender.

The great thing about this recipe is that most of the ingredients can be bought all in the same bag at the supermarket; it’ll be called a seasonal vegetable bag or something along those lines.

Just to clear up the lentils and potatoes optional bit, if you want to make more or simply just bulk the soup up as much as possible then just add these at the same time as the stock. If using potatoes, peel them first as the skins don’t blend particularly well.

Ok, firstly, peel and chop everything. I promise this is almost the only strenuous task involved in making this soup. It doesn’t really matter whether you chop it into large or small chunks but try to make the vegetables roughly the same size so that they cook evenly at the same time.

Heat some oil in a large pan and boil the kettle to make the stock. I usually just throw the vegetable stock cube and chicken cube into the same jug and pour in the water but you can make it separately if you like.

Throw all the vegetables (except the potatoes, if using them) into the pot and let them stew for around 10 minutes. Most people throw the vegetables and the stock in at the same time and start bubbling away but I reckon the flavour is much better if you sweat the vegetables first to get all the flavours out.

Once you think you’ve sweated them enough – they should be a little softer and have reduced in size, then add a bit of cumin, pepper (hold the salt for now) and add the stock.

Now is a good time to add the potatoes and/or lentils if using them. Now turn up the heat, cover and simmer for around an hour or until all the veg is really soft.

Then, when it’s done just blend everything up until smooth, taste and adjust the seasoning if need be and you’re done.

Garnish with a bit of fresh parsley and serve up with some crusty bread.

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