Slow-cooker Sausage Minestrone

Last night my family all came over for dinner. For once, I was thinking far enough ahead that I was able to get dinner going first thing in the morning and put it in the slow cooker to cook all day, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it. A very successful strategy, that I shall have to employ more often.

I made a sausage minestrone, which seemed to satisfy everyone (along with bread and a great salad, contributed by my brother, and a couple of bottles of wine, contributed by my mother). As always, “minestrone” means soup with lots of stuff in it. This time, I used Italian-style chicken¬†sausage, bacon, carrots, onion, leeks, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, lentils, spinach and orzo pasta.

Here are some things I have learned about cooking in the slow cooker:

  • You need to brown the sausage and bacon first (or any ground meats).
  • It is also a good idea to pre-saute aromatics, such as onions and carrots, to bring out their flavors.
  • I de-glazed the saute pan with some red wine and also added a can or pureed tomatoes to bring some body to the broth.
  • The recipe I used called for 8 cups of broth, but since liquid doesn’t evaporate in the slow cooker, I only used 4 cups and it was still quite soupy.
  • I added a couple of Parmesan rinds that I had saved in lieu of salt.
  • I pre-cooked the orzo and stirred it in at the end of the cooking time so that it wouldn’t absorb all the liquid.
  • I also added the spinach at the end and just let it wilt a bit.

I plan to eat leftovers for the next couple of days, so I may not post until those are gone.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tagged: , , , ,

3 thoughts on “Slow-cooker Sausage Minestrone

  1. Deviled Egg 11 January 2010 at 3:16 am

    I have never heard of “sausage minestrone” but it sounds delish! This seems like a recipe my whole family would love but cooked on the stove top instead of the crockpot – they are fussy like that.

    I can’t wait to try this out! Thanks!

  2. Shannon 11 January 2010 at 8:23 am

    You can also cook on the stovetop – just simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours instead. And you’ll probably need to use more broth than I did, because more liquid will evaporate during cooking.

  3. Kathy Hester (geekypoet) 23 January 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Sounds good. I may try making this one meatless too. Thanks for the idea!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: