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German recipe: Ham hock and lentil stew

German lentil stew in a large cooking dish with weisswurst and ham hockA ham hock, frankfurters and lentil stew is absolute comfort food and is one of my favourite family recipes.  It’s one of my mother’s as well.  She likes nothing better than lentils and spaetzle (a German-style pasta).  As it’s turned cold here in the UK, we have had this twice already and thankfully my young daughter loves it too.

In Germany, it is well-known that residents from the Stuttgart region have a reputation of being quite frugal.  A ham hock (on the bone) is one of the cheapest cuts around and so this dish fits the stereotype perfectly.

If you don’t have a German deli around that sells spaetzle (I hope to create a video on how to make at home soon), then you can always substitute with boiled or even mashed potatoes.  Any German sausage will also do.  In the picture here, I used weisswurst, however frankfurt or bockwurst is more common.


  • Olive oil & butter
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 1 ham hock on the bone or 250 gr pulled ham hock
  • 1 cup brown or puy lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon seeded or German mustard
  • 4-6 German sausages (frankfurt or bockwurst)
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper


In a large pan, on a medium heat, add a good dash of olive oil and a good-sized knob of butter.  Once melted, add your onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the carrot and celery and cook for a further 2 minutes.

German stew cooking, onions, carrots, celery, lentils and chicken stockAdd the lentils, ham and bay leaf and stir together for a minute.  Then add the stock and a little salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for about an hour, or until the lentils are soft and cooked through.  Check the stew every now and then to make sure that there is enough liquid.  Add some water if you need.

Remove the lid and add the mustard, sausages, parsley, and more salt and pepper if required.  Cook for another 5-10 minutes.  If you used a ham hock, take this out of the stew and using two forks, shred the meat from the bone and return back to the stew and mix through.

This ham and lentil stew is now ready to serve.  As mentioned above it goes perfectly with spaetzle or potatoes.

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