Cheeseburger Soup

Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Well, friends, it is that time of year again. I hereby proclaim it to be soup season! Cold damp days just seem to lend themselves so well to the warming, gentle aromas that waft from my kitchen when I have a batch of soup simmering. I don’t know about you, but I could easily eat soup daily. The varieties are endless…believe me, I don’t often make the same thing twice!

Because it has been so cold, I have been on a “comfort food kick”, and soup is cold weather comfort food in a bowl. I’ve made broccoli cheese soup, Italian Sausage soup, chicken noodle soup and chili. I usually make a variety soups most every week for various catering jobs, so these are just added to my list of available varieties!

As kids, we were used to the basics…tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, alphabet soup…you remember the familiar red and white cans! I never liked homemade soups as a kid; I don’t know why! My mom would make a pot of something only to have my brother and I turn up our noses because it hadn’t come from a can. Now that my own kids do the same thing to me, I realize how crazy we were! Homemade soups are soooo much better than canned soups.
Soup is such a fun thing to create! All you need, basically, is a big pot and a few (or a bunch of) leftovers. Just rummage through the fridge and see what you pull out. Some leftover pot roast, carrots and potatoes? Chop it up, add a bit of celery and onion and a little broth (or thinned gravy) and you’ve got great vegetable beef soup. Didn’t they finish last night’s chicken and rice? Same thing…chop the chicken, add broth or gravy and yum! I like to keep a can or two of beef and chicken stock or culinary bases in my pantry for just such occasions. You never know when you will need to add a little flavorful moisture to something.

By the time you read this, I will have participated in the seventh annual “Soup-er Bowl”. This annual fund raiser for our local hospital is a terrific opportunity for you to sample a large variety of soups from local restaurants and caterers. In the past the event has offered dozens of different soups and stews to be sampled by the lucky event goers. The creativity level of then chefs involved is great. Each vendor has their signature soup to offer, and oddly enough, there are rarely any duplicate varieties. I love to sample everyone’s offering; it is fun to see if I can figure out how they made it! This year I made two soups to enter into the competition…stuffed chicken breast stoup, and calico chili. I have won in the past with my chicken wing soup and hopefully one of this year’s varieties will make me a repeat winner! I’ll let you know how it goes…

The long-range weather forecast still looks cold and damp, so this will be a good week to make soup! Why not look through your fridge, freezer and pantry, pull out a few random ingredients and see what kind of masterpiece you can whip up. Remember, it’s not just another bowl of soup…if you make it from scratch it’s a steaming bowl of love!

Cheeseburger Soup

  • ¼ lb ground beef
  • ¾ C chopped onion
  • ¾ C shredded carrots
  • ¾ C diced celery
  • 1 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried parsley flakes
  • 4 C cubed, peeled potatoes
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • ¼ C flour
  • 1 lb processed cheese, cubed
  • 1 ½ C milk
  • ¼ C sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain and put in crock pot. Saute onions, celery, carrots, basil and parsley until tender. Add to crock pot along with all of the remaining ingredients. Stir gently. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.