Sausage vegetable stew is perfect for a cold winter night’s family meal. It only takes about an hour to make this hearty, heartwarming meal. I serve it with garlic bread or artisan bread, and it’s filling enough on its own.
Fresh Brussels sprouts are widely available in most markets these days, and they are a nutritional powerhouse. I can hear the sprouts-haters out there now ready to skip on to a different recipe, but wait! Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of the little cabbages myself. At least I wasn’t. In this chunky stew, they don’t have a strong cabbage flavor at all. In fact, they are fairly mild and absorb the flavor of the sausages, so I hope you will give them a try.
Having said that, you can imagine how easily this recipe can be adapted to use your favorite vegetables. Just be sure to put the vegetables that take the longest to cook in at the beginning. You will note that I add the spinach and cherry tomatoes in last to preserve texture and color.
Sausage Vegetable Stew Recipe
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
3 medium carrots
1/2 of a large sweet onion
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds (5 to 6 links) hot Italian sausage links (may substitute mild)
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups tomato juice or V-8® juice (see Notes for substitution)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon celery salt (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery seed plus 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, optional
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup orzo (may substitute barley or Israeli couscous)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen baby sweet peas
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Prep the vegetables first so they are ready to go. Wash the Brussels sprouts, and trim the stem ends. Cut each one in fourths through the core. Peel the carrots and cut into coins 1/2-inch in diameter. Add to the Brussels sprouts. Cut the onion in half from top to bottom. Slice into wedges 1/2-inch thick from top to bottom. Add to the other vegetables.
Trim the stem ends from the spinach, and tear large leaves in half. Place these in a separate bowl. Measure out the chicken broth and tomato juice and set aside.
Cut the Italian sausage links into 1-inch rounds. Place a 6-quart pot over medium heat. When hot, add the sausage rounds and let them brown, stirring occasionally to catch all sides. When the sausage is browned, drain off any excess oil.
Add the chicken broth, tomato juice, oregano, basil, celery salt, fennel seeds, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the Brussels sprouts, carrots, and onions. Bring to a low boil and simmer about 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to get tender. Stir in the orzo and simmer 6 minutes. Add the corn and baby sweet peas and continue to simmer 3 more minutes.
Lastly, gently stir in the spinach and cherry tomatoes. Continue to heat on low until the spinach has wilted.
Serve Sausage Vegetable Stew with a side of garlic bread or slabs of artisan bread.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• May substitute 1 small (8 ounces) can plain unsalted tomato sauce OR 1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, plus 1 cup water for the tomato juice.