It's never easy to think of things to feed your kids for lunch, and believe me, mine eat their fair share of macaroni, sandwiches and leftovers. But sometimes, especially if I know that Mike won't be home for lunch, I make soup. This is because Mike hates soup and won't eat it unless it's homemade chicken noodle and he's on his deathbed. This is my kid's favourite soup recipe for which I am grateful, as curry is what I love to eat the most. They always ask for seconds. I'm not sure where I got the original recipe, I think I clipped it from a newspaper, but I have made so many changes over the years that it would be unrecognizable to the original cook.
Curried Red Lentil Soup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion - finely chopped
1 large carrot - peeled and grated
1 clove minced garlic
2.5 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. garam masala - this is an Indian spice blend that is easy to find if you are fortunate enough to live in a city that has a Nutter's, otherwise, you can probably find it at Safeway or at better food stores.
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger - here's a helpful hint for fresh ginger. When you buy it fresh, break or cut it into 2-3" pieces, peel it and then wrap in saran wrap. Throw them all in a Ziploc bag in your freezer, and then when you need some ginger, you have it handy and it's way easier to grate when it's frozen.
1 - 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes - don't drain, just add the whole can to the pot.
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock. You can use water & bouillon cubes if you like. This is where you have to decide if it is going to be vegetarian or not.
1 cup red lentils - picked over and rinsed until the water runs clear.
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 apple - peeled, finely diced or grated
2 cubes of frozen chopped spinach - optional, or use fresh if you like, it's mostly for appearance.
Saute onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 min. Add carrot and cook until softened. Add garlic & spices, saute until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients except for apple & spinach. Simmer until lentils are tender and orzo is cooked through, 20 - 30 min. When there is about 5 minutes left of cooking, add apple & spinach and simmer until the spinach has softened and broken up in the pot. Be sure to taste and adjust seasonings before serving. If you have used homemade stock you will probably have to add salt.