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Slow-Cooker Sausage Minestrone Recipe

- Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

You’ll crave this colorful dish for cozy nights in when it’s cold outside. There’s nothing better than warm soup, and making it in a slow cooker is even more appealing. We recommend going Southern with sausage and buying Conecuh. Made in Alabama, Conecuh is a smoked sausage made with a great blend of seasoning and smoked over a pure Hickory fire. It’ll add extra flavor to this already-flavorful meal. Cornbread would be the perfect partner for this crowd-pleasing dish. Try this classic skillet-baked cornbread that will have the family coming back for seconds. The crust is so golden and crispy. The sausage and vegetables freeze well and taste even better the next day after the flavors have had time to meld together. If you’re planning to enjoy the soup later, prepare the pasta separately so it doesn’t turn mushy. Tip from the test kitchen: Stir in the sliced collards at the end so they retain a bit of texture. If you use pre-chopped, bagged greens, be sure to remove and discard any tough stems.

Active time:
Soaking time: 8 hours
Total time: 14 hours 55 minutes
Yields: Serves 5

Ingredients

3/4 cup dried navy beans (about 5 oz.)

3/4 cup dried butter beans or baby limas (about 5 oz.)

8 ounces smoked sausage (such as Conecuh), cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 onion)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about 3 garlic cloves)

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup chopped carrots (from 3 carrots)

1 cup chopped celery (from 3 stalks)

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups thinly sliced collard greens (from 1 bunch)

1 cup uncooked large elbow macaroni

How to Make It

Place dried beans in a large bowl, and cover with 3 to 4 inches of water. Soak beans 8 hours or overnight. Drain and place in a 6-quart slow cooker.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add sausage slices; cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, add sausage to slow cooker. Add onion and garlic to skillet; cook over medium-high, stirring often, until onions are slightly softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add chicken stock, carrots, celery, corn, salt, and pepper to slow cooker; stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH until beans are tender, about 6 hours. Stir in collard greens and pasta; cover and cook until collards and pasta are tender, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

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