Traditional German lentil soup with potatoes, vegetables, and sausages, this Linsensuppe is one of the best German soups there is.
There is no other German soup that I have eaten more often than this lentil soup with potatoes and sausages.
It was one of the first soups I have eaten in Germany and the one German soup I have been cooking a million times ever since.
Of course, there is always the Romanian Chicken Soup with Dumplings, which is our absolute number one and which I cook at least every two weeks or so, but otherwise, in terms of frequency, this potato lentil soup must be number two.
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I have cooked this potato lentil soup so often that I really don't need to follow a recipe anymore. I got the original recipe from my mother-in-law long ago, but over the years, I have changed that to fit our taste better; I lost the Maggi she used and added some vinegar and a bit more vegetables.
- Use very good quality beef or chicken stock.
- I use chicken stock or turkey bone broth most of the time because I always seem to have those in the fridge or freezer, but sometimes I cook a hearty beef bone broth just to make this soup.
- The idea to use a whole (small) piece of smoked pork belly or bacon with rind/skin was given to me by a friend.
- The fact that you keep the rind on the belly or bacon for the whole of the cooking process makes this German lentil soup even heartier, and if you keep it in one piece, you will be able to remove the rind when the soup is done cooking.
- Of course, you could eat the skin if you like, but I would rather not; it does make the soup hearty and delicious, but I do not like biting on it.
- Otherwise, it would be fine to make the soup with rindless chopped bacon or pork belly.
- I use the typical Vienna sausages or Frankfurters; whatever I happen to get, I don't stress much about that. If you only have some sausages in the freezer, you can heat them up directly in the soup. Learn How to Cook Frozen Sausages.
- Brown lentils are perfect for this potato lentil soup; they are probably the most commonly used type of lentil in Germany.
- Red lentils are not suitable, they will disintegrate in the soup, and that is not what you want in this case.
- Green or black lentils could be substituted if that is all you have, but for a genuine taste, do try to get the brown lentils for this soup.
- For a super hearty lentil soup, I have already suggested using a whole piece of smoked pork belly or bacon with rind/skin. It is not mandatory, but good!
- Check the packet's instructions on the lentils when cooking the soup to avoid overcooking them.
- The brown lentils I use need about 50 minutes of cooking time; that is why I add the potatoes after about 30 minutes when the lentils are softer but not perfectly cooked yet.
- By the time the potato cubes are soft (after another 20 -30 minutes or so), the lentils should be soft as well.
- However, always check if they are properly cooked; they should be nice and soft but not mushy.
- The sausages can be cooked separately in a large pot. Do not let the water with the sausages come to a boil, or the sausages will split. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat off, add the sausages, and let them get hot for about 10 minutes. They are already cooked; all you have to do is to heat them through.
- You could also slice the sausages, add them to the finished soup and let them get hot in there. I do that often so that I don't have to wash an extra pot at the end.
How to serve German lentil soup?
- When heating the Vienna sausages or Frankfurter's whole, always serve some good mustard on the side.
- Serve the German lentil soup with good sourdough bread, preferably rye bread. It is not mandatory, but typical German and it tastes great.
- The soup can also be served with German rolls - Brötchen, which are small, crusty white bread rolls.
Can you reheat the soup?
The potato lentil soup can be easily reheated; it actually tastes even better the next day.
If you've already sliced the sausages and added them to the soup, leave them in there, it will not matter; they can be reheated as well. Otherwise, reheat fresh sausages separately before serving.
The German lentil soup makes a great party soup. The quantity can be very easily increased (I cooked this once for about 15 people), the soup can be made in advance, and it can be easily reheated.
So, if you would like to try a really typical German soup, the perfect winter soup, do give this potato lentil soup with sausages a try; I am sure you will love it.
More hearty German soups
- German Cheese and Leek Soup - a popular German cheese and leek soup with ground pork, a thick and savory soup everybody loves.
- German Savoy Cabbage Soup - a typical German soup with savoy cabbage, ground meat, and potatoes, a comforting and delicious cabbage soup recipe, perfect for cold winter days.
- Creamy Kohlrabi Soup - perfectly creamy and delicious kohlrabi soup recipe with potatoes and cream cheese.
- Beef Soup with Marrow Dumplings - typical beef soup with bone marrow dumplings, vegetables, noodles, and egg custard, so comforting and delicious.
- Mushroom Soup without Cream - homemade cream of mushroom soup without cream or lots of butter, just some cream cheese to make it really smooth and comforting.
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German Lentil Soup
- Large soup pot
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4.5 oz smoked pork belly with rind or smoked bacon 125 g, Note 1
- 1 large onion
- 2 carrots
- 1 piece celeriac about 50 g/ 1.7 oz
- 1 small leek
- 1 cup brown lentils 200 g/ 7 oz
- 6 – 8 cups stock 1.5-2 liter, Note 2
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dry lovage
- 10.5 oz potatoes 300 g
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to taste
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 8 Vienna sausages or Frankfurters
- Pork belly or bacon: If you use smoked pork belly or bacon with rind, keep it in one piece. Rindless, chopped smoked bacon or pork belly can be used instead.4.5 oz/ 125 g pork belly or bacon
- Heat the oil in the pot. Add the smoked pork belly with rind or the smoked bacon with rind in one piece and fry it well on both sides. If using already cubed bacon or pork belly without the rind, fry them all over as well.1 tablespoon oil
- Add ingredients: In the meantime, finely chop the onion, carrots, celeriac, and leek. Add them to the pot and stir. Leave the pork belly in the pot.1 large onion + 2 carrots+ 1 piece celeriac or 2 celery stalks + 1 small leek
- Add the rinsed lentils and about ¾ of the broth or stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves and the dry lovage. 1 cup/ 200 g lentils + ¾ of 6-8 cups stock + 3 bay leaves + 1 teaspoon dried lovage
- Simmer: Stir, bring to a boil, and let cook on low heat for about 30 minutes or until the brown lentils are quite soft but not perfectly done yet.
- Add potatoes: In the meantime, peel and chop the potatoes into small cubes. Add them to the pot. The soup should be really thick, but if you find it too thick, you can add some or all of the remaining stock at this point.10.5 oz/ 300 g potatoes
- Cook: Bring to a boil again and continue cooking the soup for about another 20 - 30 minutes or until the potatoes and lentils are soft.
- Chop pork belly: Remove the whole piece of pork belly or bacon, if using. Remove and discard the rind. Chop the rest of the pork belly or bacon into small pieces. Return them to the soup.
- Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Add only 2 tablespoons vinegar first and add more to taste. salt + pepper + 2-4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, to taste
- Add sausages: Just before serving, heat the sausages in a large pot of water and serve 1 or 2 sausages per person. For a speedier version, slice the sausages thickly and heat the sausage pieces in the soup. Serve as suggested above.8 sausages
- Rindless chopped bacon or pork belly can be used instead.
- Beef broth, chicken stock or bone broth.