Slow cooker sausage soup finds missing link

I hate winter. I know hate is a strong term, but in this case, it?s exactly how I feel about the cold and the ice and the snow.

Don?t get me wrong, I like seeing snow on the trees out the window while sitting in front of a roaring fire as much as the next person, but because I inevitably must leave my home at some point while all that cold stuff is on the ground, a snowy day does not appeal to me.

I do, however, love fall. I love the crunch of the leaves and the cool weather. If it could just stay autumn-like all winter, I might love it, too.

I especially love that I can begin filling my crock pot with lots of delicious soups and chili, and recently I tried a new sausage soup that we really enjoyed.

The recipe comes from the blog ?Damn Delicious.? You can find the original at damndelicious.net/ 2015/03/21/slow-cooker-sausage-spinach-and-white-bean-soup/. I changed a few of the amounts to ramp up the flavor a bit.

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Slow Cooker Sausage, Spinach and White Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil (I used canola.)

1 package andouille sausage, sliced in quarter-inch thick rounds

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

4-5 carrots, diced

3-4 stalks celery, diced

2, 15-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken stock or bouillon

2 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups fresh spinach

Directions

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the sausage and cook until each is lightly browned.

Add the sausage, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, beans, oregano, bay leaves, chicken stock and water into your slow cooker. Stir to combine the ingredients, and add salt and pepper.

Cover and cook the soup for seven to eight hours on low or three to four hours on high.

Right before serving, stir in the spinach until it?s wilted.

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I used a spicy andouille sausage in my version. It added a really nice amount of heat to the finished soup, and it was awesome as leftovers. The flavors melded even better after sitting in the refrigerator overnight.

Also, if you?re not a spinach fan, leave it out. The soup is good with or without it.

As I look at the beautiful colors on the trees and pumpkins on porches, I know that means winter is on its way, but at least with some good food, I might be able to survive the bitter temperatures until we thaw out in spring.

If not, you can find me under a pile of blankets until we see 70-degree weather again.

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.

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