Delicious, Warming, Hearty, Sturdy Winter Food
This is more than a soup: the Westphalian brown lentil soup is a meal that will keep you warm and happy for hours on a cold winter's day. With me being down on the South Island of New Zealand living in a rather drafty cottage, winter hit me especially hard, so the arrival of my partner not only gave me some extra body heat to cuddle up to at night and keep warm (and sane), also she knew the secret recipe of this special soup, given to her by her Westphalian grandmother. Westphalia is an area in Germany ridiculed by most (especially folks living around the Rhine, which whom they have to share the county of North Rhine - Westphalia) for their peasant lifestyle, almost complete muteness and love for rather bitter pilsener beer. But these guys know their meat, so sausages, airdried bacon and bread from this region is coveted throughout the country. And once you get to know them they will even speak to you.
About once every hour. Between beers.
So we would at least once feel warm, I was introduced to that bit of peasant mana. To serve 4, you will need:
After you've achieved a throbbing repetitive stress injury by chopping all the vegetables and meat, we can go ahead and do some major stirring: Start by heating olive oil and a chunk of butter at maximum heat in a large pot and brown the pork cubes until they're brown and crunchy. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, stirring continuously until they're yellow and soft.
Now add the rest of the vegetables and cover with water. Heat the mixture until it boils and let boil for 15 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid the solids from sticking to the casserole. After 15 minutes of blobbering mess all around your stove reduce the heat to minimum, add Frankfurters and quietly simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes, adding water if necessary. Add salt, pepper and a generous helping of vinegar (the soup has to be slightly sour, but ymmv).
Serve in soup bowls and place some hot mustard on the table, so guests can pop some yellow goodness on their Frankfurters. A good German Pilsener (I advise Krombacher, Veltins or Flensburger) or a plonker of a red wine perfect this beautiful stew.