Slow Cooker Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup Recipe

*plus an unrelated note from Heather at the end*
Bobbie says:

“So, is it cold enough for ya?” I don’t think I’ve made it through a winter in my entire life without hearing this lamest of questions at least once. I just smile and nod at the crazy person as I move along.  “Cold enough” implies that one looks forward to frigid temperatures. Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with me during the winter knows I detest cold and snow, and probably thinks I’m less than sane for living north of the Mason-Dixon line my entire life, despite the weather. I couldn’t really argue with that.

We’ve actually had a rather mild winter in the Gettysburg area so far, but it’s still been cold enough to warrant some hearty, comforting soup to warm the bones as well as the soul. This simple Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup is perfect  for busy, chilly days. Peel a few potatoes, chop a carrot and toss everything in the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day, then finish the last step just before supper time. Pair with a tossed salad and maybe some crusty rolls for an easy-peasy winter meal. Simple, yet satisfying.

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Potato Soup - Easy Comfort Food

My potato preference for this is Yukon Gold, but any kind will do. Any fully cooked sausage can be used, and you can also use a different cheese. I think bratwurst with swiss cheese sounds really good, but I haven’t tried it yet.  Reheats nicely, if you’ve got any left over – keep in the fridge and use within a couple days. Freezing not recommended – texture will be affected.

 

Smoked Sausage Potato Cheese Soup Recipe

makes about 4 quarts

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
1 1/2 cups peeled carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of dried thyme
1 large or 2 small bay leaves
4 cups chicken or pork stock, preferably homemade

1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Halve the sausage lengthwise, then slice about 1/4 inch thick.

Combine everything except the evaporated milk and cheese in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours, or on LOW for 8 to 9 hours.

Remove the bay leaves. Cheesy Smoked Sausage Potato Soup - gently stir in cheese

Stir in evaporated milk.

Sprinkle cheese over top of the soup. Stir gently until the cheese melts into the soup and mixes well throughout.

Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers promptly.

 

 

 

 

 

Bobbie Laughman is a part-time elder caregiver, part-time administrative assistant and part-time dreamer of warm toes. She cooks and writes and bundles up well in the Gettysburg, PA area. Follow Bobbie on Pinterest,  subscribe to her blog or send a message to Bobbie@Home-Ec101.com.  

Heather says:
I’m very grateful that Bobbie sent this over last night. I didn’t want to not post this week, but the kids and I were rear-ended yesterday afternoon. We were all checked out at the ER and other than being extremely sore and cranky, we’re all okay. I want to thank the extremely nice staff at N&D Wireless, a local business, for letting the kids and me wait in their store while everything was sorted out. The ambulances (not for me or the kids and as far as I know, the other people are okay, too) and police took up most of their parking lot for a good hour. They helped entertain my shaken up kids and were just generally kind. They didn’t have to let my wound up kids go nuts in there for as long as they did, but that kindness meant a lot, I was pretty rattled. I’m going to be a complete slacker this weekend and hopefully attack Monday with all of my usual spite and enthusiasm. Have a good weekend and hug -yes, hug- those you love.

Braised Rutabaga: Fearless Friday Recipe #31

Heather says:

Rutabaga

Fearless Fridays are about pushing our culinary boundaries, lately I’ve done well with purchasing seasonal vegetables, but the actually cooking the produce in a recipe part has been kicking my butt. I suppose I should cut myself a little slack, as I have been out of town. What have you done fearlessly in the kitchen? Please share your adventures in the comments and feel free to link to your own sites.

The mashed rutabaga I prepared a few weeks ago inspired me to purchase a couple more and continue the experimentation. This week I turned to my favorite ingredient, bacon. It would be possible to make a vegetarian version of this recipe with butter or olive oil (2 – 3 TBSP of either) and vegetable stock, but rendered bacon plays exceptionally well off of the apple and onion. Unless bacon is verboten, try the recipe as written.

For those unfamiliar with the term to braise means to brown and then cooking slowly in a wet heat. Braising is similar to how a crockpot is used, but for the best results the browning step should not be skipped. There is a magic, known as the Maillard reaction that occurs when amino acids and sugars are exposed to heat, it’s nearly impossible to recreate this flavor without browning; some things can’t be rushed.

Braised Rutabaga Recipe

Braised Rutabaga Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 tart apple
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Braised Rutabaga Recipe Instructions:

In a heavy, oven-proof pot or dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon, chop, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.

While the bacon is cooking, peel and dice the rutabaga and apple. The diced rutabaga should be no more than 1/2″ cubes or the baking time should be extended.

Add the onion to the rendered fat and cook until soft. Add the apples and cook for an additional minute. Add the stock, but begin with approximately 1/4 cup and use your spoon or spatula to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. NEVER use a metal utensil to scrape your cookware, unless you particularly enjoy scratching the finish and spending a lot of time scrubbing the food that gets caught in the scratches. Even then I suggest a more productive hobby.

Bringing those browned bits of goodness into the stock greatly increases the flavor of your dish, even if you plan on finishing in a slow cooker.

Add the rest of the stock, the diced rutabaga, the bacon crumbles, and salt and pepper to the pot. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour.

If you would like to make this in a slow cooker, place the diced rutabaga in the cooker and pour all of the other ingredients over top. Cover and cook on low for at least 4 hours or on high for 1.5 to 2.

Enjoy!

Wine Braised Pot Roast for the Crock Pot or Dutch Oven

Heather says:
Fearless Friday will return next week. I am a little behind on what I wanted to accomplish and this recipe is one of my favorites, there’s no kitchen bravery to be found only a meal that whispers comfort drenched in red wine.

Split a hoagie roll, top with leftover roast and cheddar. Broil until melted and enjoy.

Split a hoagie roll, top with leftover roast and cheddar. Broil until melted and enjoy.

A good friend of mine once asked what cut of beef should I use for a pot roast? There are several to choose from, but my favorite is the chuck roast also known as a chuck shoulder roast and I prefer bone-in.  Alternately, look for bottom round or flat cut brisket. Expect about three servings a pound for each of these roasts. If you’re feeding a family of four, you’ll need at least two pounds to expect any leftovers. There are many wonderful things to create from leftover pot roast, so quit sniffing and think about these beef and cheddar hoagies for a moment.

Let’s get started.

wine braised pot roastIngredients:

  • 1 pot roast preferably 3 – 4 lbs
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups of drinkable red wine, divided (it doesn’t have to be super fancy, but nothing you wouldn’t touch in a glass)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • fresh ground pepper
  • optional 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

Kitchen utensil that isn’t necessary but sure makes life easier:

  • Fat separator

Make sure your roast has thawed completely before beginning. Set it on a plate, sprinkle both sides with a pinch of salt. You’ll still have 1/2 tsp reserved to add to the sauce.

Sprinkled and resting comfortably

Sprinkled and resting comfortably

Slice your onion and peel the garlic cloves. It’s ok to use the flat of the knife to smash the clove for peeling. The garlic doesn’t need to be completely intact for this recipe, but it should be mostly whole. Part of garlic’s charm is the range of flavors that develop depending on how many cells are broken prior to cooking. When garlic is left mostly whole and slowly cooked it has a rich, almost sweet flavor, very different from the sharp flavor of quickly cooked minced garlic. If you are using a dutch oven preheat the oven to 350.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. It’s very important that your pan is hot before the roast is added. This step is crucial to the maillard reaction, which is the difference between ho-hum and please, please make this again, I’ll do the dishes, just make it again. Yes, that important. I promise, this step is worth the dirtied pan.

seared roast Once the pan is hot, add the roast and sear for two minutes. There should be some sizzling when the roast is added. If not, remove roast quickly and let the pan heat a little more. Peek after 90 seconds to make sure it’s not getting too dark. Do not wimp out and turn the roast while it’s still gray. Hang tight just a little longer. Once there is significant browning, turn the roast and let it go for another two minutes.

If you are using a slow cooker for this recipe, place the browned roast in and turn it to low. Cover. If not, remove the roast from the dutch oven and set aside for just a few moments.

Ignore the diced onion, one of the kids was talking to me and auto-pilot took over, you really only want sliced for this recipe.

Ignore the diced onion, one of the kids was talking to me and auto-pilot took over, you really only want sliced for this recipe.

Add the onion and garlic cloves to the pan and give a good stir to loosen some of the browned bits.

add the wineThen slowly add, 1 cup of the wine to the pan. You’re going to witness a lot of steam and sizzle. Don’t be scared, just stir and finish scraping up those browned bits.  *Important note* Only use plastic or wooden utensils in your pans. Don’t scratch them, it just makes everything that much harder to clean later. Add a few turns from a pepper grinder or about 1/4 tsp black pepper.

in the crockpotAdd the bay leaf and pour everything in the pan over the roast in the slow cooker. If you are going the dutch oven route, return the roast to the pot and turn it once. Scoot the onions and garlic to one side, to spoon over the top of the roast. In a slow cooker, allow this roast to cook 8 – 10 hours on low. Going the dutch oven route, you’ll let this cook for 2 to 2.5 hours at 350F. This cook time assumes the roast is 1 to 1.5 inches thick. If your roast is thicker, it will need to cook longer in the dutch oven.

Once the roast has finished cooking, set it aside and pour all of the pan juices into a fat separator. This handy device can be found in most big box stores, like Wal-mart or Target and should only run a few dollars. They are extremely handy. If you do not have one, pour the pan juices into as narrow a jar as possible and spoon off the fat. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the pan juices. Add the 1/2 tsp salt, unless you decide to add the Worcestershire sauce which contains plenty of its own salt. Add the second cup of wine and cook down, stirring occasionally until the liquid’s volume has been reduced by half. This takes between 5 & 10 minutes. Do not abandon it and turn the heat down, if using a thin pan or if it is at a roiling boil. We just want to simmer it, not scorch the bottom.

Spoon the sauce over the roast and serve with your favorite sides. This meal begs for oven roasted root vegetables and mashed or baked potatoes.

Enjoy.

Pot Roast: Back to Basics

girlHeather says:

Pot roasting beef is a great way to get a tender dish from a fairly tough cut of meat. Pot roast typically refers to tougher cuts of beef: chuck, rump, or brisket cooked by braising. Braising simply means a wet, slow cook. Slow cookers and Crock-Pots® work well for this type of cooking, but the oven is my favorite method. While this isn’t a meal that can be finished in a hurry, the amount of actual hands on cooking is minimal.

potroast.jpg

Remember the amounts of each ingredient will vary depending on the size of your roast, the size of your pan, and how much you enjoy vegetables and potatoes. We like our pot roast with rice or over mashed potatoes.

Basic Ingredients:

  • beef roast
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic cloves – sliced
  • herbs such as – thyme, rosemary, bay leaves (your discretion)
  • vegetables – carrots, celery
  • water or beef stock

[Read more...]

Ground Beef and Cabbage Skillet

girlHeather says:

File this meal under pretty good comfort food. Mr. Heather filed it under “should make again” but he’s from Minnesota and used to consider “hotdish” its own food group. Relax, I’m just teasing to pick on my in-laws. Everyone say hi to Nan and Gramps.

Back to the food, it’s important to remember this dish calls for uncooked rice. If you have cooked rice you are looking to use, be sure to omit the water.

Ground Beef and Cabbage

Ground Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Ingredients

1lb Ground Beef(ground turkey works very well) Optional Additions
1/2 med onion diced(about 1/2 cup this isn’t critical) diced bell pepper
1/2 head of cabbage roughly chopped(if the cabbage is huge, use a 1/4) frozen corn
1 cup uncooked rice kidney beans
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt – pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
optional 1 bay leaf (I’m not a huge fan of bay leaves)

Directions

005.JPG Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the ground beef or turkey and cook until no longer pink. Be sure to use your spatula to break up any large chunks.

Drain the fat off.

Add the onion and cook for another two minutes or so.

015.JPGStir in the cabbage, rice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasoning. Add any extras at this time, too.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 – 25 minutes stirring occasionally.

This can be adapted for a CrockpotTM or slow cooker. After cooking the meat, transfer to the crock, add the remaining ingredients, except for the thyme (add this just before serving), and cook on low for 4 – 6 hours or high for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Since brands of slow cookers vary, you may need to adjust the cooking time. This recipe assumes the setting low is about 200°F and high is about 300°F.