Slow-Carb, Slow-Cooker Beef and Lentil Stew
The Slow-Carb Lentil
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 The 4-Hour Body. Tim maintains that a legume should be eaten at every meal (and should take up about 30% of your plate). He has tried many diets and feels this is the ideal ratio to stick with for maximum weight loss. It's like he has basically donated his body to science while still living in it!
Lentils are an often-overlooked, 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, but just make sure they are well-drained and rinsed. They are relatively low-calorie, but pack a lot of nutrition. Studies show that adding fiber to your diet can lower cholesterol, and the folate and magnesium in lentils are heart-healthy. Lentils digest slowly, which helps to prevent spikes in blood glucose, and give the feeling of fullness for a longer period of time. They 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 you want. The dry lentils are added in the last hour of cooking. If this isn't possible, then substitute with canned lentils and just stir until heated through just before serving.
This meal also freezes well for another day. It goes great with warm crusty bread...but of course, only if you are not doing the slow-carb diet!
- 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 frying pan. Season beef generously with salt and pepper, then add beef in batches to brown over medium high heat, turning once.
- Add the browned beef to the slow cooker, with canned tomatoes and beef stock.
- Add carrots, celery, and onion to the frying pan that the beef was in. Turn the stove to medium low and cover the pan, stirring occasionally, until onions are transparent. Add garlic and celery leaves and saute one minute more, then add these vegetables to slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan with red wine, scraping off anything stuck to the bottom, and pour this mixture into the slow cooker.
- Add rosemary and oregano. If you're using dried herbs, make sure to rub them between your fingers to release their flavor.
- Set on low and cook for 8 hours.
- An hour before eating, add the lentils.
- Garnish finished stew with parsley. Enjoy!