From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's Frugal Foodie Friday and today's recipe is a gem that is kind to the pocket book and busy cooks who are searching for nearly effortless family meals. The recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens and it packs enormous flavor into the crock of a slow cooker. For best flavor, the meat should be browned, but all the other ingredients are simply dumped into the ceramic insert of a slow cooker where they simmer until the meat is tender and the vegetables are done. While it is called a soup, this dish is substantial enough to the main course of a meal, especially if it is served with a crisp green salad and a great peasant bread. Come to think of it, a Shiraz would also make a lovely accompaniment. The soup may be a bit spicy for young children, but other diners will have no objection to the gentle heat that permeates the soup. As you scan the recipe,you will note that it calls for French lentils. They are smaller and more pellet-like than the red or brown lentils that you are probably familiar with. If you can't find them, use what you have on hand. I love to use them in soups and stews because they tend to hold their shape when simmered for a long period of time. I hope you will give this simple recipe a try. It's a perfect meal to serve when the North winds blow. Here is how the soup is made.
Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1 cup French lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1 medium coarsely chopped red sweet pepper
1 medium chopped onion
2 medium sliced carrots
3 stalks sliced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup snipped fresh parsley
Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 3/4-inch pieces. If desired, in a nonstick skillet cook beef over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Place meat in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Stir in broth, lentils, water, sweet pepper, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I cooked mine on low for 6 hours. Stir in parsley. Ladle soup into bowls. Yield:6 servings.
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