Karl Ratzsch’s German Lentil Soup

The recipe comes from John Poulos, executive chef at Karl Ratzsch Restaurant, 320 E. Mason St. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, in 1999

Karl Ratzsch’s German Lentil Soup
1 pkg. (16 oz.) dried lentils
3 qts. ham stock
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
4 drops hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp. ground caraway
½ tsp. celery salt
¼ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. bacon grease
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. freshly-minced parsley
½ lb. 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 boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer 30 min. Add water as needed, up to 2 quarts, to retain soupy texture.  Stir in carrots, celery and onion and cook 10 min/ 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 has consistency of gravy. Add parsley and ham, simmer 5 minutes more to heat through. Serve hot, garnished with croutons.  12 servings.

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

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