Linsensuppe - German Lentil Soup

     Long before I ever formally realized I wanted to pursue international cooking so intently I had always looked around. As a foodie I loved new flavors and new food experiences and looking away from the flavors and cultures I am familiar with provides new ingredients and new techniques and new experiences. 

     This German Lentil soup is one I have made for years and years, in my early days of looking for the delicious. It a combination of all the lentil soup recipes I have ever tried, perfected to suit my tastes but also accommodating the essence of soup. Use what you have on hand.  Typically I reserve my bacon drippings and cook with that for dishes like this to add flavor and don't start from the bacon strips. From there throw in whatever vegetables in whatever amounts you have on hand. Ham again is an option, you can add it or leave it out, or grab a can of ham from the pantry and add that. 

2. brown lentils
8 c. stock (vegetable or chicken)
6 strips bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 c. potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf 
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

5 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp. caraway seed 

1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Leftover cooked ham OR 1 can ham, drained

Place the caraway seeds in a large soup pot and cook until toasted. Remove from the pan and add the bacon. 

Sauté the bacon and remove from the pan. Add the onion to the bacon drippings and cook until translucent. Turn the heat to high and add the vinegar. Cook until caramelized down to almost nothing. Add the lentils, stock, bay, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, nutmeg, hot sauce, caraway, celery seeds, black pepper and celery. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils are mostly softened. 

Add the potatoes and carrots and continue simmering until until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Add the ham and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Serve with crumbled bacon on top and crusty bread on the side. 


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