The first (and last) time I made soup was more abhorrent than the first 10 minutes of the 6 o’clock news — so traumatizing I avoided making or eating any liquescent meals for more than a year. Last week, I decided to grow a set and give it another try. Fortunately for me [and my clean kitchen], this bacon cheeseburger soup did not require a creaming capacity or any appliances other than my own stove top. (I should mention, though, that I got an immersion blender for Christmas, so I may try my hand at some more skillful soups throughout the wintry months.)
I’m a fan of hearty soups chock full of veggies, but sometimes you’ve got to cook for the masses, and the masses like meat. And bacon. And cheese. And clogged arteries. You weren’t trying to stick by that New Year’s resolution at all, right?
adapted from Cooking With Paula Deen
♦1 lb. package of bacon
♦1 lb. ground beef (I used lean, 93%)
♦2 tsp. minced garlic
♦1 tbs. onion powder
♦2 tsp. smoked paprika
♦2 tsp. McCormick’s barbecue-flavored Grill Mates spice
♦2, 14-oz. cans of low-sodium chicken broth (Swanson)
♦1 small can of cheddar cheese soup
♦2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
♦1/2 c. shredded white cheddar cheese
♦French’s fried onion straws
Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces, drop into sizeable pot (Dutch oven) and heat on medium-high heat until crisp. (You don’t necessarily need to use the entire pound of bacon; I used about 10-12 slices.) Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Leave half the bacon grease in the pot. (Or all of it, if you’re feeling extra heart attack-y.) Add ground beef, garlic and spices, and cook for about eight minutes — or until meat is completely browned. Drain grease. Add chicken broth, cheese soup, Worcestershire sauce and bacon. Cover and heat on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Dish into bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese and fried onion straws.
Total time? 40 minutes. (As always, blame the bacon for the long cook time.)
Cost? $4.15 ground beef, $2.99 bacon, $2.39 fried onion straws, 59¢ cheese soup, $2 chicken broth, $2 shredded cheese.
Overall success relative to expectations? 10 out of 10. Attempting another soup, my expectations were obviously tempered; you’d think that’s why the marks are so high, but this soup is just that good. I neglected the part where you could — and probably should — incorporate veggies (e.g. onions, chopped tomatoes, maybe some shredded lettuce), but again, it’s best to cater to your diners if you want acclaim. Aside from the crunchy bites of bacon and crispy fried onion straws (before they got soggy), my favorite part of this experience was it required only one pot and minimal cleanup. A great weeknight meal that reheats well for leftovers. Enjoy!