Cheeseburger Soup

With all of the activity surrounding Baby Sis, I neglected to mention that I finally made that Cheeseburger Soup I’d been craving.

You’d think that with a new kitchen, I’d be just a blur in there, whipping up a host of new dishes and desserts.  Well, no.  It’s been three weeks now and we still have crap that has no home.  There are about a half-dozen boxes filled with stuff that we didn’t even know we had – with no place to go.  Worse, we still don’t have a dinette set or even new chairs to go with the newly installed breakfast bar (that no one asked for – I can’t emphasize that enough).  Work and fatigue; fatigue and work – stuff’s just not getting done around here, and I rarely feel like cooking.  And while I can make myself at home in most environments, regardless of the craziness, the same cannot be said of the Little Woman, who requires some semblance of order in her world.  So while I come home and sigh when I see our mess, she secretly seethes.  Hence, Cheeseburger Soup.  I could leave this place like this for now on, provided I gave her a pot of that stuff.

It’s amazing to me what gets forgiven in a relationship once food is put on the table.

Anyway, I discovered the recipe while thumbing through Taste of Home magazine while at Barnes & Noble one evening, and I foolishly ended up shelling out $11 for this collection of their best meals.  I say “foolishly” because had I bothered to take just five minutes to search, I would have found the same recipe on their online site for free.  No problem; I’m not opposed to sparing you from my mistake.  Here’s the online linkOr . . . you can just keep reading.

Here’s the original version:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1-3/4 pounds (about 4 cups) cubed peeled potatoes
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (16 ounces) Velveeta process cheese, cubed
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

My version differs in that I used frozen chopped onion, frozen chopped green pepper (What would life be without green pepper? I shudder to ponder the thought.), canned diced white potatoes, and 2% milk.  I also used a full pound of ground beef because – well, because.

At the same time, I omitted the carrots, celery, and sour cream.  Carrots and celery are fine, whether individually or as ingredients, but this is a soup based on the classic cheeseburger, and I’ve yet to run into either carrots or celery on one of those.  The Little Woman suggested that they were there for texture, and I agree.  You may care to add them, but I did not – nor did I care to spend a small fortune for bags of vegetables that would largely go to waste.  I did, however, pick up the sour cream, but decided against using it at the last moment.


Directions

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, beef and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

 


 

If you haven’t already noticed, this is really just a glorified potato soup with ground beef.  If I were to tinker with it beyond what I’ve already done, I’d substitute diced ham for the meat, use a white cheese (instead of Velveeta), and maybe top it all with some shredded Swiss.  As it were, though, the soup came out fine.  I only wish I’d taken photos.  Wait – I did – but the only thing they show is that I’m not Ansel Adams.  So, I’ll steal Taste of Home’s photo:

cheeseburger-soup_exps_sbz17_2832_b10_21_1b

Obviously, mine lacked the flecks of orange carrots and half-crescents of chopped celery, which were replaced by squares of chopped green pepper, but I will note that my soup was not as golden as this one appears.  Was their coloring a by-product of adding sour cream?  I doubt it.  What I don’t understand is that for a recipe that only calls for a half-pound of beef, this bowl is filled with it – I’d reason that this bowl has almost a quarter-pound of beef that’s visible.  Did no one else in the test kitchen get beef in their bowls of soup?
All in all, I’d heartily recommend this soup, even if it’s a “one and done” item for you.  As for me and the Little Woman, I get the feeling that we’ll have this (or a variant) regularly in the future.  That ham and cheese notion, however, sounds really good right now.
I may have to test that sooner, rather than later.
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