Lentils with spaetzle and Frankfurters

Recipe for Lentils with Spaetzle – a classic Swabian dish

Lentils with Spaetzle used to be considered a meal for poor people, as the protein, carbohydrates and fibre it contains make this dish into a wholesome meal yet without meat. However, things changed quickly and this "poor man's caviar" combined with Spaetzle has become a popular everyday dish for the general population.

Following the economic recovery of the 1950s, people also started to add a sausage or two to this dish, but not just any sausage – the frankfurter. Frankfurters (in Swabian: "Saidewirschtle" or "Soida") are closely related to "Wiener" sausages: long, smoked and boiled in a skin (natural gut). In some regions of Germany they also add smoked, hot belly pork – giving the dish even more "oomph" in terms of taste.

But lentils with spaetzle is only considered to be the real thing if you add a generous dash of vinegar. With this recipe, we decided to use our "Altmeister" vinegar. Its tangy, wine-like taste and delicate acidity give this dish just the right lift. But that's something all German grandmothers will know about.

Swabian Lentils with Spaetzle and Frankfurters

Ingredients for 4 persons

For the lentils

  • 400 g lentils (green lentils or brown lentils)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 80-100 g celeriac
  • 10 tbsp Hengstenberg "Altmeister" vinegar
  • 250 g belly pork (smoked)
  • 4 frankfurters (i.e. boiled sausages. In some regions of Germany these are called "Wiener" sausages)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock (alternatively you can also use beef bouillon)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Black pepper

For the Spaetzle batter

  • 4 eggs
  • 400 g flour (German type 550)
  • 130 ml mineral water
  • 1 tsp salt
 
Lentils with spaetzle and Frankfurters

Recipe for Lentils with Spaetzle – a classic Swabian dish

Lentils with Spaetzle used to be considered a meal for poor people, as the protein, carbohydrates and fibre it contains make this dish into a wholesome meal yet without meat. However, things changed quickly and this "poor man's caviar" combined with Spaetzle has become a popular everyday dish for the general population.

Following the economic recovery of the 1950s, people also started to add a sausage or two to this dish, but not just any sausage – the frankfurter. Frankfurters (in Swabian: "Saidewirschtle" or "Soida") are closely related to "Wiener" sausages: long, smoked and boiled in a skin (natural gut). In some regions of Germany they also add smoked, hot belly pork – giving the dish even more "oomph" in terms of taste.

But lentils with spaetzle is only considered to be the real thing if you add a generous dash of vinegar. With this recipe, we decided to use our "Altmeister" vinegar. Its tangy, wine-like taste and delicate acidity give this dish just the right lift. But that's something all German grandmothers will know about.

Swabian Lentils with Spaetzle and Frankfurters

Ingredients for 4 persons

For the lentils

  • 400 g lentils (green lentils or brown lentils)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 80-100 g celeriac
  • 10 tbsp Hengstenberg "Altmeister" vinegar
  • 250 g belly pork (smoked)
  • 4 frankfurters (i.e. boiled sausages. In some regions of Germany these are called "Wiener" sausages)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock (alternatively you can also use beef bouillon)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Black pepper

For the Spaetzle batter

  • 4 eggs
  • 400 g flour (German type 550)
  • 130 ml mineral water
  • 1 tsp salt
 

Step 1: The preparation

Peel and dice the onions, the carrots and the celeriac.

Step 2: The lentils

Sauté the diced vegetables and the smoked belly pork in rapeseed oil in a large saucepan – this will create a marvellous roasting aroma. Then add the lentils and the vegetable stock. Add a generous dash of "Altmeister" vinegar and the bay leaves, and simmer for around 30 minutes on a medium heat.

Tip: To achieve a thicker consistency, you can also bind the lentils with a little cornflour. If you don't have any available, the same result can also be achieved with a traditional roux.

Step 3: The spaetzle

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, a pinch of salt, the mineral water and the sieved flour. Beat the mixture until there are no more lumps and it starts to form bubbles. When the batter is thick and smooth, you have the perfect consistency. Now the exciting part: scraping off pieces of batter. To do this, dip the board into the hot water and put some of the batter onto it. Hold the board diagonally over the simmering water and use a scraper (a palette knife for cakes is ideally suited to this task, but you could also use the blunt edge of a knife) to stretch out the batter in a downwards direction so it becomes thinner. Now use downwards movements to scrape off little rolls of batter and let them fall into the water. Keep repeating this procedure. When the spaetzle float up to the surface of the water, they are ready and you can take them out using a slotted ladle.

Tip: If you don't want to serve your spaetzle immediately, run them under cold water for a few seconds. This will prevent them from cooking any further and stop them from sticking together. Before serving, simply heat up a little butter and a little vegetable stock in a frying pan, put the spaetzle in and stir them around for a couple of minutes.

Step 4: The Frankfurters

Cook the sausages for around 7 minutes in simmering water, until they are firm and crispy. Important: The water should not actually be boiling, as this will cause the sausages to burst.

Tip: If you want to give the sausages even more flavour, add a bay leaf to the water.

Step 5: The finishing touch

Before serving, remove the rind from the belly pork. Arrange the spaetzle on the plates and then put a large portion of lentils on top of each pile of spaetzle. Add a sausage or two and a piece of belly pork to each plate. Finally, to give a nice fresh taste and extra flavour: a dash of "Altmeister" vinegar.

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