With kids back in school, team sport activities and just cooler weather in general, it helps to come home to a hearty soup cooking away on the stove or in your crock pot. Here's a simple yet hearty sausage stew that's dinner in a bowl - savory goodness and a great way to get in some whole grains and anti-oxidant rich veggies. Pair it with a nice loaf of crusty bread for sopping up the soup broth, no butter needed.
Heat a large pot on your stovetop over medium high heat, spray with cooking spray and add in the Portuguese sausage. Stir occasionally until the sausage is browned but not crispy. Remove, place on a paper towel and blot to remove as much oil as possible. Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the Italian seasoning, diced tomato, tomato paste, potatoes, chicken broth, and water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potato starts to soften, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and add in the barley and browned sausage. Cover and cook for at least 20 minutes.
Before serving, mash up a few of the potatoes to thicken the broth and stir in the spinach. Stir gently and the spinach should wilt in a few minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy with a big hunk of bread!
Hint: If you’re using your crock pot, follow basic instructions from the start until you’ve cooked the onions and garlic. From there, you can toss everything into a crock pot, set the timer to high and leave for 2 to 3 hours. If leaving all day, set the temperature to low.