German Eintopf Soup is a top allergen free favourite meal in our home. It freezes well and uses up whatever is in the fridge that needs finishing up.
Why We Love This Soup Recipe
My partner grew up in a German household and for him this is a piece of his childhood. A staple they had on cold nights on the farm for dinner. His mum would add veggies they had grown in their massive garden and put lots of love in the meal.
Our kids have grown up on this soup. There were no adaptations needed for us to keep making German Eintopf Soup after we found out the kids had severe allergies. The key to making sure this soup is safe for you is to use high quality ingredients, safe bacon, and pork broth.
Eintopf in German means one pot.
Made in one pot with a pork broth base. What we put in the soup changes from meal to meal. Some days we have more beans or peas to use up. Other nights it is broccoli and cauliflower that needs to be eaten. Turnips, parsnips, and schwarzwurzel (black salsify) are wonderful additions.
It is a poor man’s soup, according to my better half. Eaten by farmers to get all the nutrients through the winter. That is why we use pork broth, as it was made with bone broth by his grandparents. THIS is his childhood version of chicken noodle soup. Every cold and flu this soup was made to help him feel better. We love our recipe and learned it from years of watching Oma make Eintopf.
We use maple smoked bacon in our recipe but the traditional Eintopf is made with regular cured bacon or ham, not sweetened. Our kids like the hint of sweetness and it has become a request of theirs in updating the family recipe for the new generation.
It means a lot to our family to pass on this family recipe to others.
German Soup Ingredients
Pork stock - Made from real bones and into stock is the best. You can absolutely use store bought pork broth.
Bacon or Left over ham- Cut in bite sized pieces. We use super thick cut bacon or ham. Our kids prefer the maple smoked pork as it adds a sweetness to the broth that they enjoy. We often will make this dish with ham after we have cooked a big roast.
Potatoes - Use any variety of potato. We love using yellow or red potatoes as opposed to starchy russets but whatever is on hand is fine.
Green beans - Fresh or frozen is fine. Cut or snapped into bite sizes is best.
Aromatics- Celery, carrots, onions and garlic— the keys to any great soup. Dice all into bite sized chunks.
Substitutions and More
Can I use chicken or beef stock or broth instead of pork stock?
You can use any flavour of bone, broth, or stock. Changing the stock base will, of course, change the flavour of the soup. Changing the base will give a completely different vibe to the soup. It is a great way to use what you have on hand and to keep the flavour fresh if this recipe becomes one of your favourites, like it does ours.
Chicken, turkey stock and broth are less rich than pork ones in this recipe. Not only can chicken or beef broth but you can use vegetable stock, or even lamb stock. Tetra Packs of stock, frozen stock or broth from the store or homemade are perfect for this recipe. Homemade is by far my favourite and personally the best in my opinion.
Can I Use Bouillon Cubes Instead of Stock?
The one broth/stock base that one should not use is bullion cubes. The flavour from them isn’t strong enough to carry the soup with all the veggies. Increasing the amount of bullion cubes will only increase the salty taste. They also are difficult to find allergen free.
We used unsalted broth or stock because we make our own and then salt the soup after it has simmered. You need salt to bring out all the flavours in the soup, as with any food dish. Taste the soup before adding salt as there will be a saltiness in the soup from the bacon already.
Does it Have to be Bacon or Can You Use Ham?
You can use either and both.
We use bacon sometimes as it is easier to have on hand if we haven’t made a ham roast in a while. After holiday dinners we take any ham left on the bone, trim the fat off it, and cut it up into easy to eat cubes. Stored in a sealed container in the freezer until we make the next eintopf batch. The same can be done with beef or lamb roasts, a whole chicken or turkey leftovers, too. It is the perfect way to use up leftover meat.
Can You Use Beef or Chicken Meat?
Of Course! Traditionally in our family, we use ham.
The recipe calls for cooked and crisped bacon so whichever meat you choose to use make sure it is already cooked. Meats without sauces work best as the sauce will flavour the soup and may not be complementary to the soup. Don't add meat skins like turkey or chicken to the soup as they lose their crispness and get slimy in the liquid of the soup.
You could use ground meats. However, bite sized chunks of ham, chicken, beef or other meats work best. The ground versions of the meat have a habit of getting lost in the loads of veggies. Using more than one kind of meat is great,too. Just keep the same ratios of veggie to meat. Don’t forget to look at less conventional meats, if you are a family that sources your own meats. Buffalo, Venison or rabbit would also work well in German eintopf soup.
Directions and Tips to Make German Potato Soup
It is best to use raw veggies as opposed to pre-cooked ones.
If the vegetables are already cooked they tend to dissolve or fall apart. If using items like sweet potatoes, turnips, or squash do not roast them first. Simply simmer the soup until those ingredients are fork tender. The starch released by potatoes helps to thicken the soup and make it heartier.
Cook up, in a large stock pot, the cut up bacon over low/medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pot. Put it on a paper towel to drain and reserve until the end of cooking the soup.
Pour out all but enough bacon fat to fry up the aromatics
Excess amounts of bacon fat will make the soup greasy so only use what is needed. Save the bacon grease in a jar with a lid in the fridge for frying bread or other recipes.
If not enough is there then add a tiny splash of neutral oil to fry the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Let them fry over low/medium heat until softened. Pour in the stock/broth. Make sure to scrape up the bottom of the pot to get any flavour that has stuck to the pan.
Add in the potatoes and other veggies
Let it simmer away until they have softened to fork tender or just a bit more.
Stock Vs Broth
Making your own broth and stock is THE best way to get your soups to stand out and be full of nutrients, to avoid fillers, and to keep your soups allergen free.
How to make soup stock is to boil bones in water for hours. Some broths have loads of veggies and sometimes meat added to flavour them. Broths are made from stock often and for flavour.
How We Make Our Broth
We love saving all of our veggie scraps from when we are cutting and peeling vegetables. They go into a couple of big plastic sealing bags in our freezer. When the bags are full the contents are boiled for hours and made into veggie broth or added to a carcass and leftover meat bits to make meat based broth.
We save all the bones from our roast chickens, hams, beef bones, and lamb roasts. We put one kind of animal bone in and make broth from it, then freeze the broth after straining out the bones. The broth will keep for 2-3 months in a deep freeze and is so concentrated it may need a bit of water added to it to thin it out.
There are differences between stock and broth
People, though, often use the terms interchangeably.
Stock is made from bones and is not usually seasoned. It is thicker than broth.
Broth is made from vegetables, and meat. Broth can be made from stock. The consistency is usually thinner and the broth highly flavourful due to the extra ingredients.
There aren’t many vegetables you cannot use in Eintopf. Here is a list of other suggestions to add in your one pot German soup:
- Wax beans
- Kidney/Navy/pinto beans
- Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans
- schwarzwurzel (black salsify)
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potato
- Green onions
Anything that doesn’t dissolve when simmering for long periods can go in. It is really a “clean the fridge out” soup intended to use up bits and bobs. Designed to use up any veggies left over.
Can it be made vegan?
It absolutely can be made vegan! To do the changes to Eintopf Soup to make it animal product free the broth and bacon need to be substituted.
To change out the stock use a concentrated vegetable broth. One that has the most flavour is best. If using premade stock from a tetra pack, simmer it longer and use more broth and no water to give the soup more flavour.
Making your own vegetable broth
Made from leftover veggie cuttings and ends works best with this recipe when making it vegan.
Keep a couple large 4L containers in your freezer and store all the clean potato and carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves and ends, asparagus ends, wilting lettuce, in it. Do not use questionably over ripe or turning veggies as they won’t give you the right flavour.
Questionable veggie scraps will make a questionable broth.
To replace the bacon, either a “safe for you” vegan bacon can be used. To keep the soup more of a whole food plant diet add in sweet potatoes and an optional teaspoon of maple syrup to the soup.
How to Store and Reheat Eintopf
One of our favourite aspects of this soup recipe, besides its taste, is how well it stores. The eintopf soup can be stored in both the fridge and the freezer. I often feel that if it is left a day or two in the fridge or a few weeks in the freezer the flavour deepens and brings out more nuances from the ingredients.
Eintopf will keep in the fridge for 48 hours. It is best stored in a sealed container.
This German soup freezes really well. It can be kept for 2 months in the freezer in a well sealed container.
If frozen, let thaw before reheating. If previously frozen, do not refreeze. The eintopf is safest when only reheated once.
In a pot reheat the soup over medium heat until bubbling. Stirring often.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat one portion at a time. Heat for 1 min 30 seconds and stir. Heat for an additional 1 minute and stir well. Check to see if it is fully heated. If not heat for another 30 seconds, stir, check again.
What To Serve With German Eintopf Soup
We tend to have this as a meal in itself but it can be served with gluten free, dairy free biscuits, a salad, or sandwich.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
- 1 Large Soup Pot
- Cutting board
- utensils for cooking
- 250 g Left over ham or Thick cut bacon preferably maple flavour cut in ½ inch pieces
- 2 Tbsps neutral oil
- 1 large Onion medium diced
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 large Carrots peeled and medium diced
- 2 stalks Celery medium diced
- 2 L Pork broth homemade recipe is here
- 1 L Water
- 2 large yellow or red potatoes peeled and 2 cms cubed
- 100 g Green beans fresh cut in 1 inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon Marjoram
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fry up the cut ham or bacon until crispy in a skillet. If using ham a splash of neutral oil may be needed for frying up. Drain the meat on a paper towel lined plate set aside for later and drain the fat.
- In a stock pot warm the neutral oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to soften until translucent, about 3-5 mins.
- Add the diced carrots and celery to the pot and cook for 1 min stirring often.
- Add the pork broth, water, diced potatoes, and green beans, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer the soup.
- Once simmering add the marjoram, salt and pepper.
- Let simmer for roughly 20 minutes or until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
- Add bacon and simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.
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