I did my senior year of high school in Germany, junior year of college in Austria and lived with my husband for a while in Germany. I know German food, I love German food! This time of year a good hearty lentil soup is heavenly.
So what makes this lentil soup German? Linsensuppe or Eintopf (that would be lentil soup in German!) has sausage in it. The Germans eat a large amount of pork. You might have a problem eating there if you don’t eat pork! That being said there are so many delicious sausages and a nice smoked one really flavors lentil soup well. If you wanted to get wild a couple strips of bacon would be great in here too.
This soup also has a few other ingredients that aren’t necessarily typical in an American lentil soup. What goes with sausage? Mustard of course! I know it sounds strange in a soup perhaps, but it really does taste great. I also added potatoes and in Germany that means some vinegar too.
Now if you are a vegetarian you could certainly skip the pork and use either water or a vegetable broth. It would still be delicious. I used a homemade chicken stock. One of my “intentions” this year is to be better about making stock instead of using store bought. Notice I didn’t use that word “resolution”?! Hey, I succeeded on that intention so far!
This soup goes well with some good crusty bread. Wait, that is another “intention” this year, make more of our bread from scratch. I found a method that works well for me and the result is a fantastically crispy crust and soft center. Grab a bowl, slice of bread and stay warm. The best part, this is healthy with so many nutrients, low in fat and high in fiber.
German Lentil Soup
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
4 carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, chopped
1 lb. brown lentils
10 c. chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp. German mustard (Dijon would also probably work well)
12 oz. Kielbasa, sliced
2 Tbs. vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots and potatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils, stock and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about half an hour. Add the mustard, stir and cook for another half an hour.
At this time the lentils should be cooked through and you can add the sausage and vinegar. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, the sausage just needs to heat through. If desired you could add a splash of vinegar to each bowl after you ladle in the soup.
Yields: 8-10 servings