From our favorite German restaurant in Portland, this hearty lentil soup recipe is great to make on the weekend and eat throughout the week. If you don't have a huge soup pot, you should probably halve this recipe.
- 1 pound lentils, washed
- 1 pound lean bacon, cut into little strips
- 12 cups beef stock
Dicing the vegetables will take the majority of your preparation time.
- 2 cups leeks, diced (You'll probably need to buy 2 leek "units". Use whitest part of leek. Wash very carefully.)
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced (Use a starchy potato like a Russett.)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Finely dicing the vegetables is key to elevating this recipe from "stock with ingredients" to a nice thick soup. The majority of your bacon and vegetable pieces should be in very small pieces; as shown in this picture of several carrot, onion and leek pieces in a teaspoon.
When dicing the vegetables, dice the potatoes last to reduce oxidization. Also, toss the freshly diced potatoes in some of the beef stock.
Render bacon in soup pot. When bacon has lost half of its fat, add onions, leeks, celery and carrots. Saute vegetables. Then add lentils. Add stock, potatoes and spices. Simmer for about 90 minutes, or until lentils are soft. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Add the vinegar and chopped parsley just before serving. Salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with grated parmesan if desired, and a good bread. The husband says that this soup goes great with a malty beer like alt, red ale, or even a Scottish ale.