German Lentil and Bacon Soup

You can use diced, cooked ham instead of the ham bone. Simply add about 1 cup of meat at the end of step 4.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 3 hours 30 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 1 lb. dried lentils
  • 12 cups water
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 3 medium onions, peeled, divided
  • 4 stalks celery with leaves, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and grated
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper


  • Put the lentils and water in a large soup pot with the ham bone, 2 whole onions, 3 whole stalks of celery with leaves, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Add potato to the pot. Reduce to low and simmer for 3 hours, stirring regularly.
  • While the soup simmers, place carrots in a small saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, sauté the bacon over medium heat. Leaving the bacon grease in the pan, transfer the bacon to paper towels.
  • Coarsely chop the remaining onion and celery. Sauté them in the bacon fat over low heat for 5 minutes, without allowing them to brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to paper towels to drain. Discard the bacon fat.
  • Remove the whole onion, whole celery, bay leaf, and ham bone from the soup pot; discard everything except the ham bone. Cut the meat from the bone and add the meat back into the pot. Stir in the sautéed carrots and celery. Add salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon on top of the soup in a tureen or individual bowls.