Karl Ratzsch's German Lentil Soup

Recipe originally printed in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1999.

1 package (16 ounces) dried lentils
3 quarts ham stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 drops hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoon bacon grease
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 pound ham, diced
Croutons, for garnish

Pick over lentils, removing any grit. Place in stockpot; add stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, nutmeg, hot pepper sauce, caraway, and celery salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add water as needed, up to 2 quarts, to retain soupy texture. Stir in carrots, celery, and onion and cook 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, combine bacon grease and flour. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until just browned, to make roux. Add roux to soup, little by little, until soup is the consistency of gravy. Add parsley and ham, simmer 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve hot, garnished with croutons. Serves 12.

Note: Chicken stock can be substituted for ham stock, though the flavor of the soup will be a bit different.


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