Lentil soup has become a favourite in our house. I like making it because, once the beef is browned, it doesn’t require a lot of attention and makes the kitchen smell great while it simmers on the stove top. Kevin likes eating it, because…well, its good!
Don’t let the name throw you, mild curry adds a wonderful scent and a bit of flavour, but not much heat. If you are shy about spices, start with 1 teaspoon, or leave it out entirely. If you love heat, use a hotter curry, such as Madras. Thats the great thing about recipes, they can be modified to suit individual tastes.
This recipe calls for stewing beef, because it is always available. If you can get your hands on some thinly sliced beef short ribs (often called Korean – Style), use them instead. The bones add just a bit more flavour.
With a nice crusty bread, this will serve 4 very hungry people.
1 lb stew beef, cut into 1″ cubes
2 T coconut oil, plus more if needed
1 large onion, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery sliced
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp sugar
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
salt and freshly ground pepper
In large stew pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Season meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, and adding additional oil as needed, brown meat on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
Reduce heat to low and add onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, sugar and a sprinkle of salt. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are just translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook 1 minute longer.
Push veggies to sides of pan, and, add tomato paste, curry powder, garam masala, cumin, tumeric and sugar to centre of pot. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 or 2 minutes, until tomato paste darkens a bit, and spices are fragrant.
Add 4 cups of water, meat and any juices accumulated on the plate. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered for 1 hour, adding water by half cupfuls if needed.
After an hour, add lentils and 2 cups of water, bring to boil, and simmer uncovered until lentils are tender, 20 – 30 minutes.
Adjust seasoning, ladle into bowls and enjoy.