Lentil Soup

My mom makes the best lentils in the world.  Well, after years of trial and error, I think I can proudly say that I make the best lentils in the world.  Yeah, I know, not very humble of me to say this, but I want to share this recipe with you, let you try it, and then you can say you make the best lentil soup in the world. See? I'm sharing.  
Growing up in South America, this recipe is very close to my heart and to my Colombian heritage. Over time, I've added and taken away some ingredients and came up with my own recipe.  


This is what you'll need:
1. one bag of uncooked lentils (1 lbs)- this serves 8-10 people.  You can do half a pound and adjust the other ingredients 
2. one whole onion (white or sweet) finely chopped
3. Six medium red or golden potatoes chopped in small bite size pieces
4. basil
5. Paprika or Goya for color- I use one pack of Goya or one tablespoon of paprika. 
6. a teaspoon of celery seeds (or finely chopped celery if you prefer)
7. one pound of beef cut in small chunks
8. salt and pepper to taste

9.  1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

10. Garlic to taste

Before you begin, leave your lentils soaking overnight in a large container with enough water to cover them.  You don't have to do this, but if you don't, it is going to take one more hour of cooking time. 

In a large pot, saute the onions, garlic, potatoes, basil, celery seeds, paprika, and drained uncooked lentils for a few minutes.  Add the meat until barely browned.  add 10-12 cups of water and a pack of Goya color/seasoning.  Bring to a quick boil in high heat and reduce heat to medium/low.

stir occasionally and let it cook for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the lentils are soft.  Add the salt and pepper once the lentils are soft. 

Serve on a bed of white rice and enjoy!