Lentil and Beef Soup
We tried to go hiking. We really did. But it rained, and then I had to kill some time inside as two children played around me tearing apart our house, the little wild banshees. I’d been thinking about lentils as of late. So with the rain, this lentil and beef soup became a reality — a yummy reality. A one pot meal of beef chuck, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, lentils and much more, this is a hearty soup that can be eaten for dinner along with a delicious Spinach Salad with Pepitas and Turkey Bacon.
This recipe was inspired by a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis. But I added considerably more spices to jazz it up. She suggests fresh rosemary (I added more than what she called for) and dried oregano. I added to this arsenal some fresh thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper and a bay leaf. It was not a misstep, and, in fact, the next time around I may add even more of each of these spices. I also added about a pound more of meat in order to convince my husband that it was worthy of a main course and hearty enough to eat for lunch all week. I also used a little flour to make sure the meat browned sufficiently.
Top this soup with some shaved manchego and it works fantastically on a cold and rainy night as you are hunkered down in front of the T.V.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2½ pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 large celery stalks, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2½ teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2½ teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 (14-ounce) cans beef broth
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
- 16 ounces lentils, rinsed
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- ¼ cup shaved manchego
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.
- Toss the beef in enough flour to coat and sprinkle with ground sea salt and fresh pepper.
- Add half of the beef so it fills the bottom of the pot and cook until brown, about 8 minutes.
- Remove beef with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Repeat with remaining beef.
- Add additional tbsp of oil if needed, along with celery, carrots, onion, garlic, rosemary, oregano, thyme, cayenne and cumin to the pot.
- Saute until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Return the beef and juices to the pot.
- Add the beef broth and tomatoes with their juice.
- Bring soup to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour until the meat is tender.
- Add the lentils and cover, continuing to simmer, until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley. Season the soup, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into bowls, top with manchego and serve.