It was a lazy day today, and a look ahead at the weather–with snow coming in by the end of the weekend–makes me crave something warm and yummy. I thumbed open my “soup” folder … and the first thing that jumped out at me was My Carrabba’s Sausage Lentil Soup.
Granted, it’s not exactly the official Carrabba’s recipe. It’s my own clone, created both from eating at Carrabba’s back when we lived in Texas … and from using several different recipes I found online where other people were cloning it, too. Mine isn’t exactly like theirs either, but–of course, since I made it to my own personal tastes–I love the way my recipe came out. It goes something like this
Lane’s Sausage Lentil Soup
- one pound hot Italian sausage (or you can use mild if you prefer), either in bulk, or–if links are all you can find–with the meat taken out of the casings
- one large onion, diced
- two large carrots, shredded
- two stalks of celery, sliced thin across the grain
- two medium zucchini, shredded
- four or five cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
- one 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or chopped but not drained
- six cups of chicken broth
- two cups dry lentils, rinsed and picked over for trash
- one teaspoon garlic powder
- one teaspoon onion powder
- two teaspoons Italian seasoning (I like the Tone’s Spicy Spaghetti Seasoning I first found at Sam’s Club: it’s my #1 Italian seasoning choice since it includes more than just the standard herbs and spices)
- one-half teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
- salt to taste
Brown the sausage and onions together first. Once they’re somewhat browned, add the carrots, celery, zucchini, and garlic … and continue frying together until the vegetables wilt and start to brown around the edges. The more you fry it at this point, the more flavor you build in your soup.
Once all of your chunky ingredients are browned to your satisfaction add the tomatoes, chicken broth, lentils and seasonings … adjusting the salt based on how salty your chicken broth is. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the lentils are tender … which may take anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour or more, depending on how big and/or dry your lentils are. Some recipes suggest that–once the lentils are tender … you need to extract and blend one third to half of the soup … then return it to the pot to make a thicker soup–but that’s personal preference. The taste will be the same either way.
Now I REALLY want to make some … and soon!
Note: I don’t know that I’d can this recipe after I cooked it. It would just be mush. However, this would make a great “cooked in the jar” canning recipe, too! I haven’t tried it yet, but I can pretty much figure it out!
To can, stage a bunch of pint jars, then:
- Brown the Italian Sausage and onions together, then add in the other raw vegetables and brown them, too … just like in the stove-top version. Building that browned flavor is even more important in this version because you’re going to be cooking in a closed environment from here.
- While this is frying, heat up 6-8 cups of chicken broth in a large pot.
- Once all the meat and veggies are browned, put approx. 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of browned meat and veggies in each pint jar.
- To each jar, add approx. 3 tablespoons of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or chopped but not drained. Use them, juice and all.
- Add 3 tablespoons of dry/rinsed/picked over lentils to each jar.
- Then season each jar to taste. Like I said, I’ve never actually made this as a canned recipe … so I’m estimating here that I’d probably put a dash of onion powder and a dash of garlic powder in each jar … a quarter teaspoon or so of the Italian/Spaghetti Seasoning … a grind of coarse black pepper … and maybe just a pinch of sea salt, but that’s mostly depending on how salty my chicken broth is.
- Fill the jar with hot chicken broth to one-inch headspace.
- Clean the lip of the jar, apply a heated canning lid and ring, and process according to the NCHFP recommendations for soup.
Drats! Now I want to make some of that, too!