Today is National Soup it Forward Day. We are encouraged to celebrate community, friendship, health, and, soup, by making an extra-large batch of our favorite homemade soup, then delivering it to unsuspecting friends and neighbors who need a little pick-me-up and appreciation. In celebration, I’m posting my Four Cheese Cheeseburger Soup recipe that I created for our farm‘s Weeklyish Newsletter.
Most weeks the ‘ish features an original recipe designed around the current seasonal local food offerings, often with hints on local farms where you can get the ingredients directly from the farmer. Eventually, I’ll post most of those recipes here, but I don’t have the ability to always be timely with it. So subscribe to the newsletter if you want to up your seasonal eating/cooking game.
Meanwhile, this recipe has been the most popular from the newsletter, garnering all sorts of praise. It’s hearty comfort food, perfect for showing someone you appreciate them. I would be honored if someone soup’ed it forward to me! And, if you don’t change the scale, it makes a good 2 1/2 gallons – lots of love to share!
Four Cheese Cheeseburger Soup
Cold, windy, damp... Mid-winter calls out for a hearty soup. And this winter, in particular, has needed the comfort of cheese. Lots of cheese.
I had a craving for cheeseburger soup for about a week. But I couldn't just create a boring, ordinary cheeseburger soup. I needed a cheeseburger soup that would put that craving to rest for a while. I also wanted to make a big enough batch to get through a rather hectic few days in the schedule. This recipe makes a large batch - you might want to cut it in half, or even a third. I gave quantities of veggies in terms of volume, rather than number, to make that easier for you.
In a 12 Quart lidded stock pot, brown the ground beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika. When the beef is browned, drain it, and set aside.
Return the pot to medium heat, and melt 3 Tbsp butter. Add the carrots, celery, onions, basil, and chives, and saute just until the onions are translucent but not yet beginning to brown.
Add the potatoes, chicken stock, and beef stock. Cover the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, but not falling apart - about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a roux. In small saucepan, melt 11 Tbsp butter. Add flour, and stir until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the roux just starts to change color. remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
When the potatoes are tender, add the ground beef back to the pot. Gradually add the cooled roux to the soup, stirring briskly to blend in while avoiding lumps. Increase the heat, and bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir constantly once it begins to boil, and cook for about 2 minutes. It will begin to thicken a little bit.
Reduce heat to its lowest setting. Add the cheeses, stirring until each one melts before adding the next. Add the milk. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
Turn off the heat, and blend in the sour cream. Finish by adding the Worcestershire sauce to brighten the soup up a bit - let taste be your guide. Serve alongside a great crusty bread. Our Italian Semolina is perfect, and baguettes also work well.
REHEATING NOTE: it can be difficult to get a reheated soup with this much cheese and milk to be as smooth and silky as when it was first made. The key is to reheat slowly, with lots of stirring, so the dairy solids fully emulsify back into the liquids, but without scorching or burning. I like to use a double boiler to accomplish this. If using a microwave, try using the "defrost" setting to gently warm it most of the way, stirring frequently before finishing for a minute or two on high.
If you plan to freeze this soup, it is usually advised to not add dairy such as cheese, milk, or sour cream to frozen soup until you are ready to serve it. Keep those separate, portioned for the amount in each freezer container. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and stir in the dairy. However, some folks have good luck freezing the soup in its finished state, then very slowly re-heating in a crock pot on its low setting.