Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup

When I was fortunate enough to live near a Carrabba's Italian Grill, I really enjoyed their sausage lentil soup. Then one day I was craving the soup... and now living 2 hours away from the closest Carrabba's... so searched All Recipes for a good substitute. I found this recipe, altered it a bit, and loved it; but honestly I don't remember the Carrabba's version well enough to say whether this is a close replica of theirs or not. It doesn't really matter to me though since I simply enjoy it for what it is, a deliciously spicy soup. Try using turkey Italian sausage to cut some calories.

Spicy Sausage and Lentil Soup

3/4 to 1 pound hot Italian sausage (substitute sweet sausage if you don't want it too spicy)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup (about 3 ribs) celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pound dry lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 1/2 cups carrots, sliced or diced
5 cups water
7 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

In a large pot, brown sausage until no longer pink. Drain grease and return to pot. Add onion, celery, and garlic, and saute until tender. Stir in lentils, carrot, water, chicken broth, tomatoes, garlic powder, parsley, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, and red pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until lentils are tender. Remove bay leaves and discard. Serve topped with grated cheese. Yields 10 to 12 meal-sized servings.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

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