An easy and tasty soup made from ground beef, lentils, and brown rice.
(This post was updated with step-by-step photos and better photos of the finished soup in March 2012; the recipe was first posted in 2007.) I originally made this soup on a day I was too sick to go the store, and I don’t think there’s anything that tastes as good or as comforting as soup when it’s cold outside. The weather in Utah has been so mild this year that we’ve only had a few days that were soup weather, but on one of those days I made this soup and enjoyed it that night for dinner. I have a few containers in the freezer now for those snowy days I’m sure are still going to come. I did add some balsamic vinegar to the finished soup this time, and I loved the way it perked up the flavor so I’m updating the recipe to add that.
A lot of the good flavor here comes from the homemade beef stock and homemade chicken stock I always try to have in the freezer, but I think even if you had to use canned beef broth and chicken broth this would still taste pretty good. Use the low salt version if you used canned broth, and don’t be in too much of a hurry and shorten the simmering time, because that’s another step that builds in flavor. Lentils are just the type of low-glycemic “good carbs” the South Beach Diet is built around, and this soup uses the kind of ingredients many people always have in the house, so it might become one of your favorites.
Heat a small amount of olive oil and cook the ground beef until it’s nicely browned.
Heat a tiny bit more olive oil and saute the onions and celery until they’re starting to soften. Then add the garlic, dried thyme, ground cumin, and dried parsley and saute a couple of minutes more.
Add the vegetables to the soup pot with the ground beef and rinse out the frying pan with 2 cups water and add to the soup. Add beef stock, chicken stock,lentils and chopped carrots and let the soup cook at a very low simmer for about 60 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
When the lentils are tender, add a more water if needed and then add the rice and cook 30-40 minutes more, or until the rice is done. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, stir in balsamic vinegar if desired, and serve hot.
And here’s the original photo from 2007, not bad at all considering most of my photos at the time.
Lentil Soup with Ground Beef and Brown Rice
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn to use what was in the house when she was too sick to go to the store!)
1 lb. lean ground beef (use beef with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
2 tsp. olive oil (or more, depending on your pan)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 T minced garlic or garlic puree (or less if you don’t like garlic as much as I do)
1 T dried parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups homemade beef stock (or use 2 cans beef broth, low sodium recommended)
2 cups homemade chicken stock (or use 1 can chicken broth, low sodium recommended)
2 cups water, plus more as needed
2/3 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup brown rice (I used Uncle Ben’s whole grain brown rice, which I really like)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T balsamic vinegar (optional, but it adds a lot of flavor)
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in heavy frying pan, add ground beef and cook until meat is well browned, using a turner to break up into small pieces. Remove meat to heavy soup pot.
Add another tsp. olive oil to frying pan and add onions and celery and saute 3-5 minutes, until vegetables are starting to soften. Add garlic, dried thyme, ground cumin, and dried parsley and saute 1-2 minutes more.
Add vegetables to soup pot with meat, and rinse out frying pan with the 2 cups of water and add to soup pot. Add beef stock, chicken stock, lentils, and chopped carrots to pot and cook at a very low simmer about 60 minutes, or until lentils are quite soft. Taste soup and decide whether to add a small amount of water. (There should be quite a bit of liquid, and the broth should be flavorful but not too strong tasting. If there isn’t very much liquid or broth seems too strong add more water at this point.)
Add brown rice and continue to simmer soup 30-40 more minutes, or until rice is done but still a bit chewy. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper (I did not add salt.) Stir in balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve hot.
This soup freezes well. You may need to add more liquid when the soup is reheated, because some will be absorbed by the rice.