Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cheeseburger Soup

A while back a friend told me about cheeseburger soup. I had never heard of it before and I thought that it sounded interesting. So I got my hands on the recipe and decided to give it a try. It's one of those recipes that came from a friend of a friend and nobody really knew the origin. 

As I was making it I began to wonder if it was one of those recipes that was created when someone was planning to make Cheese Broccoli Soup, only to discover they where missing a few essential ingredients like maybe the broccoli and the chicken! Then she opened the fridge to discover the ground beef in there just waiting to be used. (As all mom's know, dinner has to have a name because your kids are going to ask what you are having for dinner and if you don't give it a specific name they will already be suspicious. Or if you tell them that you are having Cheese Broccoli Soup with hamburger instead of chicken and broccoli they will turn up there nose without so much as a glance at the soup you lovingly slaved over all afternoon, and tell you they don't like it.) So being the creative mom that she was she called it Cheeseburger Soup.

Well, I decided to do a little research to see if Cheeseburger Soup was really a "thing" or if it was somebody's spur of the moment creation. A quick search on Google told me not only that it was indeed a "thing" but it also lead me to what was most likely the original source of the recipe. This Cheeseburger Soup recipe posted on the Taste of Home website is the same recipe that I was given with the exception of the kind of cheese that was used. Of course I had to give the recipe my own little twist, partly because I didn't have all the right ingredients and partly because I'm not very good at following directions...as in I like to create my own way!

I really like this soup and look forward to making it again. I'm thinking that some bacon might be a nice addition to this soup. Bacon Cheeseburger Soup, I can almost taste it now! Next time that is how I will make it and I will let you know how it goes!

My modified versions of Cheeseburger Soup

1/2 Pound of cooked ground beef
1 Large Onion, chopped
4 Shredded Carrots
2 Tablespoons of chopped Celery Leaves (see note below)
1 Teaspoon dried Basil
1 Teaspoon dried Parsley 
3 Cups of Chicken Broth
4 Cups of peeled and diced Potatoes
1/4 All purpose Flour
2 Cups of Cheese (use what kind you like, I used shredded cheddar and colby)
1-1/2 Cups of Milk
2 Ounces of Cream Cheese

In a large pot, saute butter, onions, carrots, celery leaves, basil and parsley until tender. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the chicken broth while continuing to stir. Add the potatoes and ground beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes to cook the potatoes. Add the cheese, milk and cream cheese. Cook on low and stir until the cheeses are completely melted.

Add some fresh baked bread and you have yourself an hearty meal. 


My Tips
-Did you know that you can cut chop and freeze the tops of celery stalks to use to flavor soups or casseroles? Next time you are cutting up celery chop up and freeze any of the top part (small stalks and leaves) that you aren't eating. Pull them out of the freezer and add them to your soup or casserole!
-Next time I will use more ground beef. Probably about a pound.
-I don't think it's necessary to shred the carrots. There is nothing wrong with them shredded, I'm just not sure it's any better than chopped carrots. Next time I'll probably used chopped carrots unless my 4 year old is around looking to help out. She does an impressive job of shredding carrots.
-Freeze any leftover soup. Soups with a cheese based broth change texture slightly when you freeze them. I add some more milk when I am reheating soup from the freezer and this smooths it out. If you don't mind this slightly different texture, than this and all cheese based soups are great options for freezing. 

I love this tip from Nony at A Slob Come Clean about having cooked ground beef in the freezer. It makes cooking recipes like this one a lot quicker!

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