Beef and Lentil Soup!! Think thick, nourishing and thoroughly filling!! One bowl of this soup and l doubt you’ll have room for much else. It’s got it all: tender pieces of beef, diced vegetables and lentils cooked in a beautiful beef stock that’s been flavoured with loads of fresh thyme. This is my stand out winter soup!!
I’ve eaten this soup three times since the colder weather has kicked in. The first time was after an exhilarating but exhausting bushwalk/hike, which was 2 hours long but felt much longer as a lot of it was uphill. After having worked up an appetite, it was soooo good to come home to my pot of Beef and Lentil Soup that l’d made the day before.
The cut of meat which gives this soup lots of flavour is the humble chuck steak (braising steak). Chuck steak is easy on the budget and has a really good balance of meat and fat. You need the fat for flavour!! To get the best out of chuck steak, you need to cook it slowly until it is very tender.
My second flavour boost is fresh thyme. I find it hard to accurately describe the flavour of thyme, although l have read it being described it as having peppery, lemony or minty tones. The good thing is you can use lots of it without it becoming too overpowering. I also like to scatter some over the top of my soup for extra flavour and colour.
Initially, l couldn’t decide whether to call this a soup or a stew. Either way, l hope you’ll love it!!
Preparation Time: 20 mins Cooking Time: 2 hours Servings: 4 – 5
- 1.5 kg / 3 lbs chuck steak
- 1/4 cup plain/all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 850 mls / 3.5 cups beef stock (Note 1)
- 1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin of lentils
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 sticks of celery, diced
- 150 g / 4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 3 tsp fresh thyme, extra for sprinkling
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Trim excess fat from meat. Cut into cubes and coat lightly with flour. You don’t need to cover all sides.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium – large pot over moderate – high heat. Add the meat in 2 -3 batches and sauté. Remove each batch from the pot and place in a bowl. If the pot becomes dry after sautéing the first batch, add a little more oil and continue.
- Add another 1 tbsp of oil to the pot. Add the onion. Turn the heat down a little if it starts to colour too quickly. Sauté until soft and golden. Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Sauté for 30 seconds.
- Return the meat (along with juices in the bowl) to the pot. Add the beef stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce to low-moderate heat. Cover and simmer gently until the meat is soft and tender (1.5 – 2 hours).
- Add the carrots, celery and mushrooms. Simmer uncovered until veggies soften. This won’t take long because they are diced (about 10 minutes).
- Drain the liquid from the tin of lentils. Add to them to the pot. Stir. Simmer for another 5 minutes uncovered (Note 2). Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Use a fork to break up the cubes of meat into smaller pieces.
- Serve with extra fresh thyme sprinkled on top.
- For convenience, l use stock/bouillon cubes and find them perfectly fine. For this recipe, l used 2 cubes. Unless you buy a low sodium stock, be mindful of how much salt you add. Always taste first before you add!!
- The lentils only require heating through as they come already cooked in the tin.