Thursday, July 9, 2009

German Lentil Soup, A Great Recipe, Twice

So this is another really simple recipe. I throw the lentils, broth, and seasonings in the pot. While that is cooking I chop the remaining vegetables and throw them in when the lentils are tender. It's that simple but the results are a very hearty, very thick, very flavorful soup that makes great "pockets" the next day. I'll explain that last part in a minute.

It can also be made using all dried ingredients for food storage purposes. If you use dried onion, potatoes, carrots, and celery you will need to add more water to the soups while it is cooking. Also don't wait until the end to put them in, they will need longer to cook so add them with the lentils. No need to rehydrate first.

This also makes a great gift idea. Just put the lentils in a cute cellophane bag with the seasonings (use powdered Worcestershire) and tie the top with cooking instructions and a mini bottle of Tabasco. You can add dehydrated vegetables to the mix or put what what needs to be added and when on the instruction card.

German Lentil Soup

2 c. dried brown lentils
7 c. vegetable stock (can use chicken too, I prefer vegetable though, it doesn't interfere with the flavors of the spices as much. If you use bouillon skip the salt, you wont need it)
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (Warning, contains small amount of anchovies, vegetarian versions are made though, just check yours if you don't eat fish)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp. caraway seed (I like more)
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped celery
3 c. potatoes, cut into 1 in cubes
1 can ham, crumbled, or 1 c. leftover ham chopped fine (optional)

Combine the lentils, chicken stock and the next 11 ingredients. Simmer 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Do not let the soup boil dry, if it starts to add more liquid, either water or more stock. If you just simmer the pot you should be just fine. The only time it went dry on me was when it was at a full boil. When the lentils are soft enough to eat add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and continue to cook until tender. When the vegetables are done stir in crumbled ham. This goes great served with a dark crusty bread.

Or you can throw all the ingredients at once in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 - 6 hours

And now for the twice part. The next day I like to strain the liquid and use as a filling in stuffed bread. I throw a batch of dough in the bread maker and when its done pull off 2 in balls of dough. I roll them flat and top with a heaping tablespoon of lentils. Then wet the sides on half of the dough and pull the other side over the top to create a half circle. Press the sides with a fork to seal and place on a lightly floured bake sheet. I bake them at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the are golden brown and it looks like the bread is done.

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