Slow Cooker Sausage & Veggie Soup

The temperature fluctuates so much in Northern Michigan in the springtime. We can have snow, rain and sometimes 70 degree days with sunshine. I starting dreaming of fresh summer vegetables, but still love hearty warm dinners on cold days. This soup fits the bill of being fresh and savory.

Because my kids are young and don’t like to see the “green specs” on food that herbs leave I wrap them up in a cheesecloth sachet. They are able to help infuse the flavor while keeping them contained. The Rosemary and Thyme adds such a depth to the flavors that really pair well with the pork sausage.

Sautéing the vegetables prior to adding them to the soup helps keep them firm through the process of cooking down the soup. Also, the browning helps to enhance the flavor of the vegetables as well as the soup itself. I chose to use mild Italian sausage. If you would like an extra kick you can use chorizo or spicy Italian sausage. To make this lighter try using turkey sausage.

To make sure the cream doesn’t curdle add it right before serving. I like to enjoy this soup with crackers, but it is amazing on its own. This is perfect for chilly spring evenings after busy days outside.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound of ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 2 large carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium potato – peeled and diced
  • 1 large zucchini – diced
  • 1 large summer squash – diced
  • 1 large head of broccoli – cleaned and chopped
  • 8 ounces of button mushrooms – cleaned and chopped
  • 1 T garlic powder
  • 1 spring of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 t black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Add chicken broth or stock to a six quart slow cooker.
  2. Wrap Rosemary, thyme and black peppercorns into a cheesecloth sachet and add to slow cooker along with the garlic powder.
  3. Cook sausage until well cooked through, drain and rinse. Add to slow cooker.
  4. Sauté veggies until lightly browned and the onion and squash start to turn translucent. Add to slow cooker.
  5. Cook on low for six hours or high for 3-4.
  6. Remove herb sachet and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir in heavy whipping cream and serve immediately.
  8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze.

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