Cheeseburger soup has become a staple meal for my busy (and kind of picky) family.
It is wickedly cold here in North Dakota. We NoDaks like to think of ourselves as a hardy bunch, and we are, but when the sub-zero temperatures team up with the wind, we get air that is really too cold to get out and enjoy. So we have great snow on the sledding hill, but no sledders. No one is out walking their dogs. Even the crazy runners are inside on their treadmills.
On Friday a blizzard was predicted, along with this dangerous windchill, so we stocked up on groceries as any responsible family would do. I am the weekend cook (one of the biggest changes since joining the career ranks was that weekday meals have been delegated). This leaves me to come up with something warm (and impressive) for the family on this cold winter day.
I almost always turn to soup for cold weather fare. But a deep winter soup can’t be wimpy. It has to be filling and satisfying.
Today I decided on Cheeseburger Soup, a hearty meat and potato stew that comes together in no time at all.
I have a few rules for my food. I generally prefer real food, in as close to its original state as I can get it. I detest fake food. So, my recipes call for things like real butter, and whole milk and real cream and full-fat sour cream and real cheese. I’m not going to apologize for this. I would rather eat a smaller bowl of a satisfying soup made with full-fat ingredients than an entire pot of soup made with margarine, skim milk and fat-free cheese. You, of course, are free to substitute ingredients however you prefer. . .but I cannot guarantee outcome!
So here we go!
I have a love/hate relationship with my small kitchen appliances. Currently, I LOVE my food processor. I have various children going through various stages of food pickiness, and being able to shred things like celery and onions makes for happier mealtimes. Also, I bought a large quantity of block cheese on sale, and shredding by hand is too risky for my knuckles and fingernails!
So, go ahead and shred about six carrots, three ribs of celery and two medium onions. Put the vegetables in a heavy bottomed soup pot and add a tablespoon of butter and about a pound and a half of ground beef. Saute’ until the beef is cooked. I also added some salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once the meat is cooked, add a quart of beef stock and about 4 large potatoes that you have peeled and cubed. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, melt a quarter cup of butter. Mix the melted butter with a quarter cup of flour and 1 1/2 cups of whole milk. (I shake mine all up in one of those handy dandy shaker cups).
Gradually add the milk mixture to the soup and continue to simmer, stirring like crazy! Once the soup thickens up, add an 8 oz block of cheese that has been cut into cubes. (I love using sharp cheddar, but today all I had was Monterrey jack, and it was just fine!) Stir until the cheese is melted and then add a generous scoop of sour cream (about a half cup) and stir until combined.
I guarantee that your whole family will love this! Enjoy and stay warm!
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