Slow Cooker Beef and Lentil Stew
The lowly lentil has had a rise in popularity recently with the introduction of the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss who wrote the book 4 Hour Body. Tim maintains that a legume should be eaten at every meal (about 30% of the plate) , and lentils are an easy staple. He has tried many diets, and feels this is a good ratio to stick with for maximum weight loss. After reading his book, it is evident that he has basically donated his body to science while still living in it!
Lentils are an often overlooked, very inexpensive ingredient that can be used to stretch a meal. Compared to other dry legumes, lentils cook up quickly, and are very versatile flavor wise. Canned lentils can be substituted for dry, just make sure they are well drained and rinsed.
They are relatively low calorie, but pack a lot of nutrition. Studies show adding fiber to your diet can lower cholesterol, and the folate and magnesium in lentils are heart healthy. They digest slowly, which helps to prevent spikes in blood glucose, and gives the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. Lentils are about 25% protein, which helps in the building of all body tissue, particularly muscle.
This stew cooks in the slow cooker, and makes the whole house smell wonderful. It can be turned into a soup by adding more beef broth, if that is desired. The dry lentils are added in the last hour of cooking, and can be turned up to high if you find your stew doesn't simmer on low in your crock pot. If no one is available to add the lentils, then substitute with canned lentils and just stir until heated through just before serving.
This meal also freezes well for another day. Goes great with warm crusty bread, of course only if you are not doing the Slow Carb Diet! Enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds stewing beef, cut in 1 inch cubes
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 celery stocks, halved and chopped, reserve leaves
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, (optional)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups beef stock, (or 4 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary, (or 1 1/2 tsp dry)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, (or 1 1/2 tsp dry)
- 1 1/2 cups dry red or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed well
- fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
- Heat oil in fry pan. Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Add beef in batches to brown over medium high heat turning once.
- Add beef to slow cooker, with canned tomatoes and beef stock.
- Add carrots, celery and onion to fry pan that the beef was in, turn to medium low and cover, stirring occasionally until onions are transparent. Add garlic and celery leaves and sauté one minute more.
- Add vegetables to slow cooker. Deglaze pan with red wine, scrapping off anything stuck to the bottom. Add wine to slow cooker.
- Add fresh rosemary and oregano, or dried if using. Make sure to rub the dry spices between your fingers to release the flavor.
- Set on low for 8 hours.
- 1 hour before eating, add the lentils. Garnish finished stew with parsley. Enjoy!