This past Wednesday afternoon it was sunny and sixty-three degrees. My husband and I took advantage of the nice weather by jogging outdoors. I’m glad we did because an arctic blast came in later that evening, dropping temps down into the low thirties. No rain, sleet, or snow to deal with fortunately, but still VERY chilly. What does chilly weather call for? Soup, of course.
One of my favorite kinds of soup is beef lentil soup. I’ve made a few different versions of it in the past, but this one may just be my favorite. Comforting and delicious, this soup is the perfect meal to have on a cold winter’s night.
I finished my soup off with a sprinkle of grated Grana Padano cheese, but you can omit this if you don’t have any or can’t find it. I found mine at a local specialty grocery store. Grana Padano cheese is a hard, aged cheese from Italy. You could also substitute Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, although their flavors are slightly different. While similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano in texture, Grana Padano is slightly less salty and nutty in taste. I think that either one would be a great compliment to this soup.
- 1 tbsp . olive oil
- 1 lb . extra lean ground beef
- 2 large carrots , peeled and diced
- 2 large celery stalks , chopped
- 1 large yellow onion , diced
- 1 large russet potato , diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup brown or green lentils (these are the kind found in practically all grocery stores)
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (if using whole rosemary, crush before adding to soup)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt or to taste , plus freshly ground black pepper
- grated Grana Padano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnishing (optional)
In a large stockpot, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the ground beef, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks. Once the beef is browned, add the carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, beef stock, water, and lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil, turn down to low, and let simmer with lid slightly ajar for about one hour, or until lentils and veggies are tender. In the last 15 minutes of cooking time, add in the herbs, salt and ground pepper.
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