Fork Spoon Knife is the personal blog of Asha where she chronicles her journeys in food through stories, recipes and photographs. She can also be found doodling and sharing her experiences as below.



Cold Weather Comfort: Rosemary scented Harissa Beef and Lentil Stew

Harissa and Rosemary Beef & Lentil Stew

Someone, somewhere seems to have a vendetta with the North East US. We seem to have become quite the dumping ground for the impetuousness of our weather mother. Nary a week passes by without a severe weather warning in the horizon. In the last three weeks, we have had two snow storms, one leaving behind a mountain of white fluff and the other a hill, but still something to talk about!

The thing is, I think snow is beautiful, I mean to the point of breathtaking... as it is coming down. Or, if you are one of those catch-the-dawn kind of people, then perhaps, you get to witness it's ethereal beauty before it gets sullied by the reality of life.

Harissa and Rosemary Beef Stew

I look out my window as the light, delicate (sometimes clumps) flurries sway down and it triggers happy thoughts... of pristine landscapes, of dogs running happy in the white stuff, of wearing my sexy new hounds tooth pattern rain boots, of warm, comforting meals and if I pause philosophically, of fresh starts and clean slates...

Then come morning and in the light of day, the romantic thoughts are obliterated by real people and real vehicles trudging through the snow and turning it into grey and then black slush. Not to mention that the slush remains for many days, because the city has political turmoil! Dear elected representatives, please get your priorities right. Clean first, quibble later!

Photo Courtsey: CBS News

Nevertheless, even as the perfect white ground is obliterated with many many black tire tracks and icy slush and mutinous thoughts about city governance prey on your mind, you can atleast take solace in that warm, comforting meal you were planning.

Winter typically brings on cravings for stews and soups. Recently, I decided to go a bit light on the carbs. So, I have been thinking of ways to make a filling meal that does not depend heavily on a carb compenent to furnish that satisfied feeling. In walk, Lentils. Rich in protein, taste fabulous, and intensely satisfying to boot!

And nothing says comforting better than a good, hearty beef stew. Mine has an extra kick from the harissa marinated beef and the addition of rosemary infuses the stew with becoming earthiness!

Beef stew bowl

I have my bowl of stew ready. Now, I just need a blanket and good book and I am all set to brave a storm, whenever it wants to rattle my window!

Rosemary scented Harissa Beef and Lentil Stew

1/2 lb beef brisket, cubed into 1 inch pieces
1 T harissa
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp vinegar
salt to taste

3/4 cup lentils
3 cups stock
3 carrots, peeled and diced into 3/4 inch chunks
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic
3 small sprigs of rosemary (about 2 T), tied together
salt and pepper as needed

Soak the lentils for an hour in warm water.

Mix together the salt, harissa, vinegar and cumin and coat the beef cubes evenly with the mixture. Let the meat marinate in the fridge for atleast an hour. When ready, saute half the diced onion in oil until soft. Add the meat and brown evenly. Add 1/2 cup of stock. At this point, you can transfer to a pressure cooker and cook for about 20 minutes or 7-8 whistles. If you are cooking in a regular pan, cook on medium heat until the meat is done. Add water as liquids are needed.

Meanwhile, saute the remaining onions and garlic in another pan in oil. Add the carrots and saute for a minute. Drain the lentils and add to the mixture along with the rosemary and remaining stock. Over low heat, cook the lentils until almost done.

Combine the lentils with the beef mixture and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Let the stew rest for 15 or so minutes and then it's ready to serve. You can fish out the rosemary at this point, if you want to.

Beef stew cup


  1. Warming dish indeed! I share your feelings about the snow and well after 6 weeks of white I am actually happy that the snow has melted right now (it might come back at some point though!)
    The weather is still perfect for such a comforting dish though!

  2. Wat a comforting,filling and prefect winter warmer..

  3. Looks delish as usual! A perfect comfort food for a harsh winter. Agree sometimes I got tired procratinating about snows then I realize somehow in this place snow makes everything white which is by the way one of my favorite colors.

  4. I think we've sent you all the snow. We've been having a rather mild winter in Montreal. Can't say I miss all the slush and difficulty getting around. Love the recipe. Lentils are one of my husband's favourites. Must give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That looks so warm and comforting! I wish I had a bowl

  6. Ooooh.... this looks perfect for the current chill going around. Yum yum!

  7. I'm sorry you have received all of our snow. We are 15" under the norm in Denver and guess it had to go somewhere!

    The biggest difference for us is that it's something we expect and though while not perfect, city services are up and running at a forecast, preparing for commuters the next day. I live in the county though so my street never gets plowed and we have had blizzards that have seen it take days to get out of my subdivision!

    So...the threat of a storm is often accompanied by a grocery run and food like this is always welcome on the menu. Warm and comforting when it's anything but outside, right?

  8. Your photos are fantastic. I don't eat meat but the whole post is beautiful. Stay warm!

  9. No doubt with all this snow one wants to have a comforting meal and your beef stew is just perfect !
    I like this cute little blue dish too.
    Stay warm !

  10. I complain about our 3-4 inches of snow, I can't imagine how much I would complain if I had to deal with a mountain or a hill of snow, hehe! This beef stew sounds amazingly delicious and would definitely make me forget about the cold wintery outside!

  11. We're supposed to get a big fat dump of snow tomorrow, according to the forecast, so this post couldn't have come at a better time... hearty spicy stews are really the best kind of snowy-weather food.
    I love that you've used lentils and beef together. Sounds so satisfying, especially with the harrisa for spice!

  12. I am sorry about the weather. Ours was 80 today. But I am going to put this stew recipe in my back pocket for when the rains return. I find the harissa an interesting addition. GREG

  13. There is crazy weather all around. Got an email from a friend telling me they had a blizzard in Boston on Wednesday. And all the rain here and Brazil and elsewhere.

  14. This is an amazing recipe. Love to try them at home.

  15. No need to step outside with this dish waiting for you! the lentils really do add texture to that deep rich colour. What a savoury dish!


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