This soup is very thick, you can thin it with a little stock or water if desired.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 stick celery, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
230 g (8 oz/1¼ cups) brown lentils
400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
1.75 litres (61 fl oz/7 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 large sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, to serve
grated parmesan cheese, to serve
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion, leek and garlic. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the celery and carrot. Cover and cook, stirring two or three times, over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened.
2. Add the lentils and stir to coat in the vegetables. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and thyme sprigs. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the lentils are tender. If evaporating too rapidly, add a little more stock or water to keep the lentils covered with liquid. Remove the thyme sprigs. Season well with salt and black pepper. Serve hot sprinkled with parsley and parmesan.