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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cheeseburger Soup

Someone passed along a recipe for cheeseburger soup and we tried it and it was 'okay'.  S assured me that I could make it better so we should try again ;)  My version of it is a hit with the kids but instead of shuffling around in my recipe box to make sure I don't forget anything, I figured I'd post it.  My recipe box is a mess so it is much easier for me to find a post :p

2 Large carrots, grated
3 stalks celery, diced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon butter

Melt butter in soup pot, pour in veggies and herbs and cook until veggies are tender.

Next, add in:

3 cups beef broth (or chicken or veggie, if you prefer, but the flavor of the soup will be milder)
1 pound of fully cooked beef (my kids absolutely LOVE it if I use meatballs, preferably mini-meatballs.  If they are flavored with Italian seasonings and garlic, they love it even more.  If I have any on hand, I do; otherwise, I just cook up some ground beef into crumbles with a little garlic, onion, cumin, salt & pepper).
3 large potatoes, cubed into bite size chunks

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about twenty minutes (depending on how big your potato chunks are).

While you are simmering the soup, its time to prepare your cheese sauce :)  I have no pictures of this portion because if I stop to take a picture, I will burn it and no one wants that ;)  It isn't hard to make, it just is time sensitive so I suggest you measure everything out and have it ready to go.  This sauce is also excellent in homemade mac & cheese or on top of steamed veggies (if I slather cheese sauce on california blend veggies, my kids will actually eat them :p).

I usually use a small skillet instead of a saucepan--I find I get better results with the larger surface area of a skillet. 

cheese almost melted!  

Warm the skillet up, just enough that a drop of water sizzles but not so hot you would burn yourself if you touch it.  I usually use a low-med size flame on my stove.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the pan--the butter should get bubbly and remain a light yellow color.  Stir in 3 tablespoons of flower and keep stirring.  The flour/butter mixture should get smooth and bubbly.  You want to keep stirring for a few minutes to let the flour and butter cook together.  Stir stir stir to keep it a smooth consistency--when the bubbles start to disappear and its mostly a smooth paste, stir in a cup and a half of milk.  Keep stirring!  As the milk heats up and you mix in the roux, it will turn a golden color and begin to thicken.  If you aren't stirring as this happens, you might end up with chunks.  When it thickens enough that it is the consistency of watery gravy (sorry, that's the best descriptor I can think of), add in two cups of shredded cheese and stir until melted and smooth.  If you want the sauce to have an extra creamy consistency, replace some of the shredded cheese with cream cheese--takes a little longer to melt in but worth it if you like the creamier texture.  It is also a good substitution if you realize you don't have enough shredded cheese ;)

By this time, the potatoes should be cooked.  I usually add in about of cup of sweet corn here--the kids love it.  I think it reminds them of corn on the cob as their favorite side dish to a cheeseburger in the summertime :) 

Now pour your cheese sauce in and stir it up.  I continue to simmer for a bit just to meld the flavors together.  Salt and pepper to taste (we usually don't need any but it mostly depends on how flavorful the beef is) and you are ready to eat :)  My kids normally eat two to three bowls apiece so I am lucky if I get leftovers for lunch the next day!

Delicious bowl of soup!