Taking Stock: Karwendel Soup

Taking Stock: is a series focusing on soups and stews. Look for others coming soon: Chinese Black Chicken Soup; Curried Kuri Squash Bisque; Karwendel (Lentil & Kielbasa) Soup, Vegan Minestrone with Umami to Spare. Basics of making stock will also be covered and don’t forget this tip sheet on buying a stock pot from my Essential Kitchen Equipment Series


Karwendel Soup is one of those recipes floating around the internet - almost exactly the same version - everywhere. I was handed a recipe (the same) but it was hand-written on an index card (remember those?) by Norma Jean. Norma was a woman I used to work with at a liquor store/wine shop in college. She was a sweet woman who doted on her little dog "Cognac". I was delighted to receive a set of vinyl, nearly untouched, from Norma, her son had died young and tragically, and she'd come across these albums and didn't know what else to do with them. They included some Beatles as I recall. Everyone who ever saw them gasped, then fondled them carefully "Where did you find THESE?" Unfortunately, those are now long gone, given up to an old boyfriend's attic when the argument over them was no longer worth pursuing.

I did keep this recipe, however and I think fondly of sweet Norma every time I enjoy this soup. I hope you'll enjoy it, maybe put on some Beatles for dinner music.

Karwendel Soup

This hearty stew comes from Austria. The original recipe as shared with me called for basil. I always thought other spices might be more Austrian, so I replaced the basil with thyme, sage and paprika each of which appear in other recipes from the region.


  • 3 oz diced lean bacon
  • 3/4 lb. kielbasa sliced 3/4"
  • 1 C finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 C chopped carrots
  • 1/2 C chopped celery
  • 16 oz whole peeled or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 C water
  • 1 C dry red wine
  • 1 C lentils rinsed
  • s &p, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram
  • 1/4 tsp each thyme, sage, paprika
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 lg bay leaf
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped parsley
  • Mustard


  1. Cook bacon til golden, but not crisp. Remove to a plate, drain all but 1 TBSP fat.
  2. Brown sausages. Remove to plate, skim off fat.
  3. Sauté veggies, deglaze with wine,
  4. Add tomatoes, water, lentils.
  5. Stir in bacon, sausage, spices.
  6. Cover simmer about one hour, until lentils are tender.
  7. Check midway, add more water or stock if needed.
  8. Ladle soup into shallow bowls, dot sausage with mustard, sprinkle with parsley.


Serve with crusty bread, lightly dressed bitter greens for a nice hearty winter's dinner.

Karwendel soup