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My Mother's Cooking - Lentil Soup
My Mother's Lentil Soup
When my mother made lentil soup, she usually started with a meaty beef soup bone, which she simmered in water until the meat was ready to fall off of the bone.
Today, with quality beef stock available in the supermarket I normally start out with lean beef and add a couple of boxes of beef broth. I use whatever beef is on sale, even stew meat if it is cheap enough.
There are a lot of different lentils available, but my mother always used the green ones, so I do too. I also like to add about four slices of bacon, cut into ½ inch strips to add some complexity, but feel free to leave it out.
The secret to making good soup is to brown the beef and sauté the onions, carrots and celery in oil before adding the other ingredients. However, I always add the garlic directly to the liquid because if it browns even a little, it tends to turn bitter.
I like to use diced tomatoes to give the soup a little texture and my mother liked to add ketchup to some of her soups to give it just a hint of a sweet/sour taste. Remember that the longer a soup simmers, the better it tastes so you should start it in the morning and let it simmer all day if you have time.
1 Lb. of Dry Lentils
1 Lb. Boneless Beef cut into ¾ inch cubes
4 Slices of Bacon cut into ½ inch strips
3 Tablespoons of Oil
2 Medium Onion peeled and chopped
3 Carrots scraped and chopped
3 Stalks of Celery cleaned and chopped
1-28 Oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
2-32 Oz. Boxes of Beef Broth
½ Cup Ketchup
6 Cloves of Garlic peeled and finely chopped.
1 Bay Leaf
1 Teaspoon of Dry Thyme
1 Tablespoon Dry Basil
3 Teaspoons Salt
½ Teaspoon of Black Pepper
- Heat the oil in a large kettle and brown the beef cubes on all sides. Then remove them to another dish with a slotted spoon.
- Add the bacon and cook it until it is rendered but not crisp.
- Drain off about half of the fat and add the carrots, onions and celery and sprinkle them with one teaspoon of salt and the pepper and cook them briefly.
- Add the tomatoes, beef broth, ketchup, chopped garlic thyme and basil and simmer about 1-1/2 hours until the beef is tender.
- Wash and sort the lentils, add them to the soup and continue cooking for at least a half-hour until the lentils are soft.
- Taste and adjust the salt level as needed.
- This is a hearty soup and we usually just ate it with fresh bread or rolls, but a small salad would also go nicely also.
Lentils are edible legumes that grow in pods with two seeds in each pod. They have been used as food for more than 10,000 years.
Lentils range in color from yellow to red to green and even to brown or black.
With 30 percent of their calories from protein, they have the third highest level after soybeans and hemp.
How to Make Beef Bone Broth
Easy Lentil Soup
Vegetarian Lentil Soup
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