Someone told me I cook a lot of chicken. I’ve never noticed, but I do. I love chicken. What’s not to love? It’s inexpensive and easy to work with. Thighs happen to be my new favorite meat because they are completely forgiving and the hoarders have mostly left them alone. But I do love beef so let’s branch out a bit.
I had a bag of brown lentils that I bought when the shelves were bare of canned lentils and most beans (hoarders!). I never used them because I found canned lentils a few weeks later that I used for another recipe. So I felt obligated not to waste these lentils and use them. But I’m actually really unfamiliar with lentils. It turns out that lentils are the easiest thing to make. They’re a legume and a cousin to the bean. You don’t need to soak them overnight like beans plus they are loaded with fiber and other good stuff. I thought lentils were just another bean, but not so.
With my trusty dried lentils, I made Beef and Lentil Stew from A Spicy Perspective. I made this during early summer, but I plan to make it again this fall when I need something super comforting.
I changed the recipe up a little based on what I liked and had in the pantry. Start by gathering and prepping your ingredients.
In a large pot (like a heavy Dutch oven), saute beef chuck and onions together until the onions are soft. Then throw in some minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Season the meat mixture with some salt and pepper and cook until beef is browned.
Add your veggies, those lentils, beef stock (not broth), and seasonings. I used a half a cup more stock than the recipe called for because I wanted a slightly thinner stew, but mostly these cartons have 4 cups in them and I didn’t want to keep track of a half of cup of stock.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for at least an hour. Curl up with your favorite beverage and go watch an episode of Tiny House Nation. Episode 3 of season 1 on Netflix was particularly good. Just saying. You’ll even have time to spare.
The stew is ready when the beef and lentils are tender. Fish out those bay leaves if you can. Add some tarragon, salt, and pepper. You’re done.
This stew is fall in a bowl. The soft texture of the lentils with the hearty chunks of beef makes it both luscious and substantial. The veggies round out the dish, giving you all your food groups. Treat yourself to dessert, which is perfectly acceptable after eating this healthy meal.
Beef and Lentil Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds beef chuck cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 3/4 cup dried brown lentils
- 14 ounces finely chopped canned tomatoes
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
- salt and pepper
- Prepare your ingredients, such as cut beef into cubes and slice vegetables.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Saute the beef and onions for 3-5 minutes until the onion are soft. Add garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until beef is browned.
- Add the carrots, celery, lentils, tomatoes, beef stock, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Bring to a boil. cover, reduce heat, and simmer, for about 60-75 minutes until the beef and lentils are tender. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the tarragon Add salt and pepper to taste.