Cheeseburger Beer Soup
I slept with my windows open last night. I know!
It’s mid-November in the Midwest, and it didn’t dip below 60°F overnight. We often have accumulating snow by now, but not this year. A few flurries one day last week — while the sun was still shining, no less — but that’s been it. I have a feeling we’re going to pay for this little weather holiday later, but for now, I’ll take it.
Of course, it does make it hard(er) to sell soup and be all, oh, soup is the perfect antidote to shivery weather, when there’s not a shiver to be had. But, it is November, and SoupAddict is still going to be making soup, whether the weather cooperates or not.
So today we have another epic soup and sandwich mash-up. Did you catch the BLT mash-up from a couple of weeks ago? I sometimes dream about that soup. (Is that normal, dreaming about soup? Don’t answer.)
Actually, this soup is more of a complete-meal-in-one, including beverage. (Although between you and me, I had a side of frozen margarita with this soup. Curled up on the couch. Watching football. With the windows open.)
Ideas come to me at odd moments. Beer cheese soup was already on the weekend’s menu, but I was going back and forth as to what to serve with it. Cheeseburgers, or appetizers? Appetizers or cheeseburgers? “Duh, SoupAddict, put the cheeseburgers in the soup and have both.” My inner voices are sometimes a bit harsh.
They’re usually right, though. Teeny-tiny cheeseburger sandwiches — two thin layers of well-seasoned ground chuck surrounding sharp cheddar — are pan fried and added to the deliciously beery cheese soup, topped with seasoned croutons (the meat layers provide some protection against the cheese melting all over the pan). The verdict by all: very tasty, you can really taste the cheeseburgers. Score.
Oh! And while this soup is by no means health soup, I reduced the quantity of cheese normally used in beer soups simply by adding lovely pureed cauliflower as a carb-free thickener.
Cheeseburger Beer Soup
To save some time, if you’d like, you can use a cheese-stuffed sausage in place of making little homemade cheeseburger patties. Just remove the meat from the casing and prepare the sausage according to the package directions.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 pound ground chuck
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
OR use your own favorite hamburger seasonings
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups cauliflower florets (measure after cutting) (optional, for thickening the soup. You could also add another 1/4 cup of flour to amount used below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup carrots, finely diced
1/4 cup celery finely diced
1/2 cup finely milled flour (such as Wondra brand) or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
12 oz. beer (use your favorite)
2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons Worchestshire sauce
8 ounces cheese, grated (strongly flavored cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, gouda, gruyere — a mix works well)
2 cups croutons, divided, for garnish
1. Gently mix seasonings into ground chuck — don’t over work. Divide meat into half and press each half into roughly equally sized rectangles, as thin as possible without tearing. Sprinkle the grated sharp cheddar over one rectangle. Carefully life the other rectangle and place it on top of the cheese-covered rectangle. Press firmly to seal. Place in freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, if using, place cauliflower in a microwave-proof bowl. Cover with wrap, cut a small slit in the wrap, and heat on High for 5 minutes.
Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove meat from freezer and cut into small squares (about 3/4”). When oil shimmers, add half of the cheeseburger squares to the pan and cook through. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to rest, and repeat with the other half.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive in a 5 quart stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add onions, carrots and celery. Saute until softened, 5-8 minutes. Add flour and stir well to coat vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes to remove the raw flour flavor. Add half-and-half a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly to thicken. The roux should be gently bubbling.
Turn heat to medium-high. Add beer and stir well until foaming subsides and soup returns to a simmer. Add chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil. Return heat to medium — make sure soup maintains a gentle bubbling.
Add cooked cauliflower florets to soup. Use an immersion blender to create a very smooth soup (alternatively, process the soup in batches in a blender).
Add cheese a small handful a time, stirring well after each addition until melted. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Add the cheeseburger squares to the soup. Turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes more.
Divide croutons among soup bowls and ladle soup on top.