I don’t know about you, but I’m always skeptical when the food I’m going to eat has the name of another food. Like…a cheeseburger is a sandwich, not a soup. I’m so happy that I looked past whatever misgivings I had with the name of this tasty soup, though, because it has become one of my favorites and a recipe that people identify with me! I have a few things that I cook or bake that are kind of my thing; oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are one and this soup is the another.
I first delighted in the rich goodness of cheeseburger soup at a work potluck years ago. Now, I don’t like to admit that I’m old enough to have work experiences that were “years ago,” but there you have it. We would celebrate anything and often at that job…and it was clear to (almost) everyone that if you were going to bring something to share, it needed to be amazing + homemade.
Oh, this soup. This soup fit the bill perfectly. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after that first encounter and had to make it for myself! The coworker who brought it in was kind enough to share her recipe, so I made copies for anyone who wanted it. That original copy is long-gone, but I luckily wrote it in the spiral notebook where I keep all my favorites.
The first time I decided to make the soup, it was a disastrous mess! There are a lot of veggies that go into it and I wasn’t quite sure of the method I should use to incorporate them into the recipe. It ended up turning out pretty well, though, so I decided to make it again. After that first mess, and the prep work that went into it, I decided to double the batch. That is my credo after all—if you’re going to make the mess, at least make it worth it! The double batch went better than the first one so, of course, I needed to make it again…but this time, I had a triple batch in mind.
Here’s where things got a little out-of-hand. Now, cooking for me is a little stressful anyway—I’m not always the best about following instructions and I don’t plan ahead very well. Did I mention this was also the week of Christmas? So, anyway…I decided that I had the hang of preparing the recipe and I should go ahead and just triple it. We had guests coming over, plus I wanted left-overs. So…I went along my merry way prepping all the things and got the first half of the recipe going on the stove. I let all the ingredients bubble away like they were supposed to and went to add the liquid that makes all the goodness an actual soup. Whoops…this was not all going to fit in my little stock pot. I ended up having to somehow split the contents of the pot that I’d already put together into another smaller pot and then figure out how much of the remaining liquid to add to each to even them out. It all worked out in the end, but lesson learned—I needed a bigger pot!
I was gifted the most gloriously giant stockpot a few years back, so if you ever want to make this recipe (and you will) and want to take the batch x’s 6 (and you will), I have just the cooking vessel for you!
I have so many wonderful memories of my friends and family eating and enjoying my cheeseburger soup, that any craziness that happened while I learned to make it has just melted into the nice haze of time-passed.
Now for the good part…the recipe!
What You’ll Need:
1.5 cups water
2 cups frozen, diced potatoes
2 small carrots, grated
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup red, yellow, or orange pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. beef bouillon granules
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. ground beef, cooked & drained
2.5 cups milk, divided
3 T. flour
8 oz. processed cheese spread
¼-1 tsp. cayenne pepper
½-1 lb. bacon cooked & crumbled
Combine 1st 9 ingredients in stock pot; bring to a boil. I use a food processor to blend the carrots, onion, peppers, jalapeno, and garlic because I like the base of the soup to be smooth, but you can chop them and have a chunkier soup…depending on your taste. I also add dill pickles and juice to this step as well. Some people don’t like pickles, so you can do this or not, totally optional. I don’t have a specific measurement (I know, not helpful), but for a single batch, it’s generally ½ of a 32 oz. pickle jar. I also sub some of the pickle juice for the water in the recipe…added flavor!
Reduce heat; cover & simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Stir in cooked beef and 2 cups milk; heat through.
Combine flour and remaining milk; gradually stir into soup. I use a mason jar for this and give it a good shake to get rid of the flour lumps.
Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened & bubbly.
Reduce heat to very low; add cheese. Keep stirring the soup on this step, as it tends to scorch.
Add cayenne, if desired.
Top with bacon.
Like any soup, this recipe definitely gets better as it sits, so it’s perfectly acceptable to make it on the weekend and enjoy throughout the next week. The prep work will seem a little daunting at first, but once you make it a few times, it will become quite easy to you. So easy, in fact, that you’ll for sure double or triple the recipe the next time!