Beef and Lentil Stew

The inspiration – The need for a tasty main dish for the Sabbath

It’s easy to make the same Sabbath foods week after week, and you would even be perfectly justified (and in the majority) to do so.  Some sort of fish, a type of soup, a type of roasted meat, a starch, a veg, and dessert more often than not grace the majority of Sabbath tables. Truth told, there is nothing wrong with this formula – one could even say it is traditional. I cannot speak, nor do I intend to speak for anyone else, but the question begs to be asked- do you ever want to change this? Make something new?

But what do you do when you want something different? For me, it is a luxury to make a meal all in one pot, and a novelty on a Friday night. The meal gets cut to 3 courses instead of four, and the serving and cleanup is much less.

Once in a great while, I’ll make some sort of stew – the main factor is that it must have meat, veg and starch all in one pot, and everyone has to be able to eat something from it.

The innovation – Taking a classic, French -style stew and using lentils and barley instead of potatoes or beans

Since on Shabbat day (Saturday morning) we eat cholent, (a bean and potato based stew  cooked on the stove overnight), I wanted a stew with no beans or potatoes. So with a little thinking, I added some lentils and barley directly to the pot – the stew was not super thick, with a smooth texture to the broth due to the starch in the barley. This was a stew everyone ate!

My interpretation: Beef and Lentil Stew


Recipe for Beef Stew:

3 lbs large pieces stew beef (I use chuck tender)

8 oz green lentils

6 oz pearled barley

2 small parsnips, cut in half, then diced

1 bunch celery, chopped fine (trim the very tips, use everything, leaves included, til the last 1/2′)

4 carrots, cut into small pieces

1 lg Spanish onion, fine dice

5 garlic cloves, fine mince

3/4 C dry red wine

Olive oil for searing/sauteing

Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

In a large saute pan, pat stew beef dry with paper towel, add a tiny bit of salt and pepper, and sear on high heat both sides, about 3-5 mins per side or until you see a nice brown crust forming. You may need to do this in batches – do not scrape pan in between. Set meat aside, and add 1/4 of red wine to deglaze pan and get all the goodness left in the pan. Reserve this as well.

In a 10Q stock pot, add a bit of olive oil, get it hot. Add garlic and onions, let sweat til onions starts to turn clear, about 5-10 mins on meduim high heat. Add carrots, celery, and parsnips, cooking on meduim high heat til the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 mins more. Add the reserved liquid from searing, as well as the red wine.

Add the lentils and the barley now, stirring well and lowering heat. Cover and let sit for about 10 mins, then add water to completely cover, and a bit of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to scarcely a simmer and cook for approx. 3 hrs. Meat and veg will be tender, and the lentils and barley will have a bit of bite but will not be hard at all.

Flavor note: In the last 10- 15 mins of cooking, taste the stew. At this point, you may decide to add a bit more wine for a stronger red wine taste – 1/4C will do the trick. Also use this time to readjust your salt and pepper if needed.




  1. Perfect timing! I just got a hunk of chuck and was looking forward to making stew! Thanks!

  2. We never make the same food for Shabbat, for us it takes the fun out of cooking. You may be creating a new Cholent trend, Lentils and barley, sounds great to us!

  3. The combination of lentils and barley sounds delicious.

  4. If only it was actually cold in Miami so I could cozy up to a beautiful pot of this stew!

  5. So creative, as usual! Looks delicious

  6. Sounds great, I love one pot Shabbat Dinners.

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