52 Week Challenge – Meal #9

Instant Pot Sausage & Spinach Soup

Just days away from the first day of Autumn and there was already a slight chill in the air – therefore, soup was the chosen dinner for the night. We went with a favorite soup from the Olive Garden – Sopa Toscana. I was excited about the sausage. Meanwhile, my wife stated aloud, “The kids are gonna hate this.” In turn, we did have “Chicken & Stars” as back-up.

For my wife, Eva Cassidy’s album – Songbird – always reminds her of Fall, so that was playing via Spotify. Once the album was done, Spotify then picks similar music to continue your “theme”. Jamie Cullum was next, which shocked us both because in the beginning of our relationship, this album was a favorite of ours and had long been forgotten. The musical play was spot on for us, but back to the dinner prep.

As I always explain with all of the challenges, simply click on the recipe title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). I then lay out what we followed as well as the changes that were made along the way. I have to admit, my wife was kicking it into high gear for this one. By the time I would find a teaspoon or tablespoon, my wife had already eyed up the ingredient and added it to the pot. I did help though – I promise!

The Line-up (Ingredients)

2 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 stick (2 tbsp) of salted butter
3 large shallots, diced
2 lbs of Italian Sausage (sweet, hot or mixed), casing removed
1 tbsp of crushed garlic (we minced)
1 cup of sherry wine or a dry white wine (like a Sauvignon Blanc)
5 cups of garlic or chicken broth
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of seasoned salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1.5 lbs of baby red (or white) potatoes, sliced into quarters with the skin still on – we used white potatoes and a skill shot is shown below
5-8 oz of baby spinach
5.2 oz of Boursin (any flavor and can be found in the deli/fancy cheese section of most markets and Costco) or 5 oz of a brick of cream cheese
1 cup of heavy cream or half & half
Crusty Italian or French bread, to dip in the soup

(See – I cut all of these – beautiful work, right?)

Game Plan (Instructions)

1. Add the olive oil and butter to the Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi. Hit “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the “More” or “High” setting (hit “Start” after if using the Ninja Foodi). Once the butter’s melted, add in the shallots and sauté for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned

2. Next, add the sausage and break it down with a wooden spatula/mixing spoon until crumbled (like a ground beef) and sauté (stir & set) for another 35 minutes. Add the garlic about 1 minute after the sausage is cooking and stir it in

3. Pour in the sherry and let simmer for 3 minutes and follow with the broth, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper. Stir well

4. Lastly, add in the potatoes, top with spinach and DO NOT STIR (leave the spinach right on top as it will cook down into nothing). Secure the pressure cooking lid, hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” or “Stop” and hit “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” high pressure for 10 minutes (it will take a solid 10 minutes or so to come to pressure due to the amount of volume in the pot). Quick release when done.

(over five minutes of pressure release!)

5. Stir in the Boursin (or cream cheese) until melded and then add the heavy cream or half & half

6. Ladle into bowls and serve with some crusty Italian or French bread

(I forgot about doing the “pretty shot”, but here’s before & after of my enjoyment)

After the first taste, there was too much of a fennel flavor to the soup. In order to cut that taste slightly, we added some hot sausage. Did I think of this? Absolutely not, but I witnessed the difference it made and slowly my cooking skills expanded. The soup was good. We had leftovers and my wife & I enjoyed them during lunches at work. Will we make it again – no urgency there, but we again did like it.

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