Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Favorite Hamburger Soup

A cafeteria lunchroom favorite, this soup from days long gone by and my all time favorite, made with a tomato and beef broth base, ground beef, a mixture of veggies and seasonings, and flavor boosters - all pantry staples. Make a double batch because this freezes nicely. 
A cafeteria lunchroom favorite, this soup from days long gone by and my all time favorite, made with a tomato and beef broth base, ground beef, a mixture of veggies and seasonings, and flavor boosters - all pantry staples. Make a double batch because this freezes nicely.

My Favorite Hamburger Soup

I love all kinds of soups, but this soup, made with ground beef, has been in my recipe box for years and is hands down my most favorite soup. If you are anywhere near my age, you probably remember something similar to this from school days of years past, when meals were homemade from scratch and we kids actually looked forward to what was for lunch that day, from the first aroma of it wafting through the school hallways.

Mama was a cafeteria lady at my elementary school where, because she had to go in so early, I got my first training as a sous chef back then in first grade, helping to punch milk cartons, push dishes into the big dishwashers and butter those wonderful homemade rolls when they came out of the oven. Oh but what I wouldn't give to have that exact roll recipe - they were the best! Trust me, I've tried a bunch. Not a one has been right.

Hamburger Soup is a basic beef broth and tomato base, mixed with a mirepoix of veggies and then really, whatever other vegetables you have on hand - corn, green beans, peas, whatever is in the pantry. I like to keep a container of tail-end veggies that are leftover from meals in the freezer - you know those couple of tablespoons that always seem to be left behind? I just continually top off the freezer container with leftover veggies and then when it comes time for soup, I just dump it in!

Though optional, the addition of pantry staples - a good beef base like Better Than Bouillon, a bit of Worcestershire sauce and some Kitchen Bouquet - all help to add a fantastic richness to the soup. Add a few flavorful herbs and you have a soup that is simple and comes together quick, yet is loaded with flavor and tastes like you simmered it literally all day long. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Recipe: Mary’s Favorite Hamburger Soup

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min |Cook time: 40 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup of chopped or sliced carrots
  • 1-1/2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup of chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1-1/4 pounds of ground beef
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups of beef stock or broth
  • 4 teaspoons beef base, like Better Than Bouillon {affil link}
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Splash Kitchen Bouquet, optional
  • 2 to 4 cups of frozen, canned and drained, or leftover mixed vegetables
  • Egg noodles or other medium cut pasta, cooked
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for garnish, optional
  • Dried parsley flakes, for garnish, optional

In a large soup pot, sauté the carrots, onion, celery and garlic in oil over medium high until veggies soften. Add the ground beef and cook through; drain off any excess fat, if needed.

Add the tomatoes, along with the juice, salt, both peppers, basil, and oregano; cook and stir over medium high, about 5 minutes. Add the water, stock, beef base, Worcestershire and Kitchen Bouquet, if using. Increase to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vegetables, bring back up to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook until veggies are cooked or warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Soup can be served at this point, or reduce heat to low and let it slow simmer an hour or more, stirring occasionally, until you are ready to eat! Cook egg noodles, or your favorite pasta separately, according to package directions; drain. Spoon noodles into soup bowls, ladle soup over top of noodles and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with homemade bread, or crusty rolls.

Crockpot: Sauté veggies, brown and drain ground beef, transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients (except for noodles and garnishes) down to the veggies, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Tip: You can save leftover bits and pieces of vegetables from meals in a small container in the freezer. As you have leftover veggies, continue layering them into the container. This works perfect for soups like this!


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on November 19, 2008

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