What If…

One of my favorite streaming shows right now (which also happens to be in its final season) is The Man in the High Castle based on Phillip K. Dick’s alternative history novel of the same name. It’s one big scenario of “what if the Axis Powers had secured victory over the Allied Forces in WW2 instead of the other way around?” It’s a wonderfully imaginative sci-fi take on alternate reality and the human drive in all of us to break free from oppression in all circumstances.

Oddly enough, one thing I always get a craving for while watching is German food. This is not to indicate that I’m “rooting” for the Germans in the show in any way. I just really like German food in the Fall & Winter, so I tend to seek out things to make for dinner with a German spin/flavor. However, the holidays are fast approaching and as I am yet a stay-at-home-wifey, I still must watch our weekly food budget as best I can. In this respect, I have been practicing more “shelf-cooking” or more frugality if you will in my menus. I still try to remain adventurous, but within tighter limits. Christmas doesn’t pay for itself after all.

With all of this in mind, I dug up a delicious and filling recipe for German Lentil Soup from my copy of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook: The Bridal Edition. It’s not one of those recipes you think about first when looking for a German recipe, granted. However, it’s sorely underrated for sure and definitely a solid choice for a cold fall evening. Another great thing about German Lentil Soup is that it’s not just hearty, it’s so healthy for you too!

Typically, soup comes before a main course in a meal, but this soup is so robust you won’t really need anything to follow… unless of course it’s followed by some of those delicious Chewy Molasses Cookies I told you about not too long ago… We topped our heavy bowls with little snowy mountains of sour cream for refreshing clips of cool creaminess throughout. Usually reserved for potato pancakes in German food, sour cream for me is so much more. For me, it goes on everything! Well — maybe not dessert — that would be weird.

The recipe calls for a pound of lentils, but it doesn’t really specify which kind. With so many different varieties on the market, it can sometimes be hard to decide which kind to use. There’s even a variety of “German brown” lentils. I wasn’t able to get these, but I found the green ones and they worked just as well! The soup was a little nutty from the lentils with a nearly-hidden earthy sweetness that came through from the carrots. The bay leaf added another note of sharp, fragrance that supported the subtle down-home quality of the thyme and onion.

I opted to use bacon fat to sautée the mirepoix in place of the vegetable oil called for in the recipe and I’m not apologizing for it! It complemented the rest of the soup far better than any mild vegetable oil ever could. Given the option next time, I think I would prefer to swap out the water used for Better Than Bouillon Ham Base for a deeper, fuller flavor. Otherwise, this was a pretty simple, pretty perfect recipe!

What are some of your favorite hefty soup dishes?

Currently Reading: Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition, Irma S. Rombauer

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