Region: All of Germany
It would probably be a stretch to claim that the one pot stew is a German invention, simply because a myriad of different one pot stews already existed thousands of Years before Germany even existed. (We are talking as far back as the stone ages).
It is very practical, tough. All you need is one pot and an open fire. This made the one pot stews ideal in pourer country homes with simple kitchen as a means to fill many hungry mouths quickly or in the great outdoors around an open fire (in the stone ages normal everyday life, nowadays referred to as ‘camping’). There are so many different one pot stew receipts; one could probably fill a whole cook book/blog with it. As these often require the type of vegetables that are in season in late summer and fall, now is the perfect time to publish some of my favorite one pot stews.
Lentil Stew or Soup can be found in different variations all over Germany. This variation goes back to my northern German roots. As a kid, I hated lentil soup, simply because my mother always bought the caned type which tastes horrible. It was not until I tried a fully fletched home-made version.
Different types of meats can be found in lentil stews, anything from lamb, pork, sausages and (as in this example) duck. I found that duck meat actually goes very well with lentils. I also added Hokkaido Pumpkin for taste and looks.
Serves: 4 – 6 Difficulty: Easy Preparation time: 60 mins.
- 4 medium potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 200 g (7 ounces) bacon bits
- 3 TBS pork lard (or vegetable oil) for frying
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 leek
- 1 small celery root
- 1 Bay-leaf
- 300 g (10.6 ounces) fast cooking lentils
- 400 g (14 ounces) Hokkaido-Pumpkin
- 2 Duck breast filets with skin (à approx. 375 g or 13 ounces)
- Freshly ground fresh pepper
- 2 TS instant vegetable broth
- 100 g Cream
- 1–2 EL white Balsamic-Vinegar
- 200 ml (6.7 fl. oz.) Milk
- 20 g (0.7 ounces) Butter
- freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 TBS Oregano (fresh or dried, prefer fresh)
- fresh parsley
- backing sheet
- Aluminum foil
Skin 4 medium sized potatoes, rinse and cook in salt water for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, clean and chop 1 medium sized onion. Remove outer leaves from leek, cut in half lengthwise then cut both halves into rings. Wash leek thoroughly under running water. Remove outer layer off the celery root, clean carrots and dice both. Wash Hokkaido pumpkin and cut in half. It is not necessary to skin the pumpkin. Remove pumpkin seeds with a table spoon. Dice the pumpkin.
Preheat oven to (150 °C / circulating air: 130 °C / Gas: setting 2)
Place 200 g (7 ounces) of bacon bits and 1 TBS of pork lard (or vegetable oil) into a cold large pot or skillet. Crank up the heat to full and brown the bacon. Add onion and stir for two minutes. Add diced leek, carrots, and celery roots and stir fry for 4 minutes. Add 1.5 ltr. (51 fl. oz) of water and 300 g (10.6 ounces) fast cooking lentils and 1 bay leaf and 1 TBS dried Oregano (if you are using fresh Oregano, add 10 minutes before stew is done). Bring to a short boil, then reduce heat to 1/3 and add lid. Important: do not add the instant vegetable broth just yet. Let simmer for about 25 minutes occasionally checking that still enough water is in the pot (should just be covering the vegetables, add more as needed).
Rinse the meat and dry. With a sharp knife cut several criss-crossing lines into the skin of the duck filet taking care not to cut too deep into the meat. Just cut the skin and the fat. Heat 2 TBS of pork lard (or vegetable oil) in a heavy frying pan and fry the duck breast on the skin side for 3-4 minutes. Turn meat over and fry for another 1-2 minutes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Place on backing sheet in a backing pan and continue to fry in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
Add 400 g (14 ounces) of pumpkin, 2 TBS instant vegetable broth, (and if you are using fresh oregano instead of dried): 1 Tbs of freshly chopped Oregano) to stew and continue to simmer for 12 minutes. Add cream, bring to a short boil and season well with salt, pepper, and white balsamic vinegar.
In the meantime, chop fresh parsley and heat milk and butter. Drain potatoes, add half of butter-milk mixture and mash potatoes. Add more milk if too dry. Season with freshly ground nutmeg, salt and pepper, and through in some chopped parsley (leave some parsley for plate decoration).
Remove duck from oven and wrap in aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes cut duck into slices and arrange in a deep plate on a bed of lentil stew and sprinkle some parsley over it. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Serve with beer, white wine, or a very light red wine.