Finally, I’ve got the soup recipe that I posted about over a week ago on my facebook profile! When I posted it to my status, I claimed that “I just made the best soup for supper.” I’ve talked on here before about how winter = soup in my mind, and this one definitely fits the bill of a hearty, fill-you-up winter meal. It is true that I haven’t met too many soups that I don’t like (as long as they don’t contain any seafood), but I promise that this one is worth trying. It can be pretty healthy too, especially if you swap in turkey sausage for the pork sausage.
I saw this recipe on Julie’s site Little Bit of Everything, but it originally comes from An Oregon Cottage. I’ve actually made it twice already – once in the slow cooker and once on the stove-top since I ran out of time to use the slow cooker. The recipe is originally written to be a slow cooker recipe, but I actually preferred the stove-top one. When we made it in the slow cooker as directed, my orzo got REALLY soft. Too soft. It was almost falling apart. This could be easily remedied by cooking the orzo separately and mixing it in just before serving, and I may try this the next time I make this soup. My other comment is that it is a thick soup and only becomes thicker with storage as the pasta soaks up the liquid. If you like your soup with a little bit more liquid, you may want to add a little more stock/wine.
Definitely don’t let my pasta comments deter you from making this soup. There are lots of options as far as ingredients in this soup, so you can really adapt it into whatever you want it to be. I can tell you that the four of us here, 3 adults and 1 child, ate almost the whole recipe in one meal. Serve it with some crusty bread and enjoy!
Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup
Adapted from An Oregon Cottage
1 lb. Italian turkey sausage (I used Honeysuckle mild turkey sausage with great results!)
4 c. beef stock (may want extra for more liquid)
1/2 c. dry red wine (or more stock if you want to omit the wine)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed (can also use garbanzo beans)
2 c. chopped spinach (can also use cabbage, chard, or kale)
2 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
2 c. chopped green beans (if using frozen, thaw a bit and add about 45 minutes prior to serving)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 c. orzo (or other small pasta)
fresh grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)
parsley for garnish (optional)
Slow cooker method:
If using uncooked sausage, cook it in the skillet until brown, drain and transfer to the bowl of the slow cooker. Combine the stock with the wine and pour over the meat. Add the remaining ingredients except for the last 3 (and green beans if frozen). Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or on high for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. About 45 minutes before serving, add the green beans (and turn the cooker to high if you are using the low setting). In a medium saucepan, cook the orzo according to package directions. Mix with the soup just before serving. Serve with Parmesan and parsley if desired.
If using uncooked sausage, cook it in the skillet with the onions and garlic until cooked through. Drain fat if necessary. Combine the stock with the wine and pour over the meat. Add the remaining ingredients except for the pasta and garnishes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cook the orzo according to package directions. Mix with the soup just before serving. Serve with Parmesan and parsley if desired.