After spending the afternoon making cookies with Esme I looked at the clock and realized it was 5:15 and I had no plan for dinner. I looked in the fridge — celery, leeks, carrots and a pitiful, decaying red pepper — and realized there were no makings of dinner either. I started thinking of the dishes I'd order from our neighbourhood Chinese takeout place. When Julian was first born there were many, many nights I'd phone them with an order as I was picking up Esme from daycare and swing by on the way home.
Then I thought: lentils. Celery, leeks, carrots (threw the red pepper out) plus red lentils and stock equals soup. I made this recipe a few weeks ago with green lentils and it ended up seeming more like a dahl to me and I didn't love it. But red lentils are fast cooking, softer and, I think, have a nicer flavour. I'd have preferred to use onions but leeks were in the fridge so there you go.
I made grilled cheese sandwiches to go with the soup. And Esme was thrilled we were having something that called for a little ketchup on her plate. After one bit of the soup Esme said, "I don't care for this." So. I wish she'd eat the soup but at least she was polite about it. Ben loved it and had two bowls.
Red Lentil Soup
1 onion diced (or leek, washed very well and sliced in half length-wise and then chopped finely)
2 carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced
a splash of olive oil
1 cup red lentils
4 cups stock
a good squeeze of lemon juice
Saute the vegetables in olive oil until they soften
Add the lentils and the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for about fifteen minutes stirring every once in awhile. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.