Time will pass and seasons will come and go, so to will football season inevitably end for every fan base...some sooner than others. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, the season has ended at the hands of a New England Patriots butt whoopin'. As hard as it is to admit, the better team clearly won....with that said...LETS GO PENS!!
Whenever I watch big games, like the Steelers/Patriots AFC Championship game, I always make a point to make something absolutely delicious. So that whatever the outcome of the game, at least I still win because I had something delicious...well that's my silver lining logic. So, in true fashion, I made this delicious Bacon Cheeseburger soup! What really makes this soup fantastic is layering the bacon flavor through the entire cooking process. This flavor layering can be achieved in lots of recipes, especially when using a fat (i.e. butter, oil, bacon fat, etc). In this example, I rendered fat from both the ground beef and bacon. I then saved that rendered fat and used it through the entire recipe. I used the golden delicious fat to saute the mirepoix, as well as, the base for the roux. Layering or building flavor, especially in soup, is definitely a great way to elevate any dish. With that said, lets check out this delicious recipe!
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
Prep time: 45m | Cook time: 30min | Total time: 1hr 15min | Yield: 8 servings (2 1/4 quart)
- 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 4 slices bacon, 1" chop
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots, shredded
- 3/4 cup celery, diced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1-3/4 pounds peeled potatoes, cubed (about 4 cups)
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 package (16-ounce) Velvetta cheese, cubed
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp worchestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook and crumble beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the dutch oven, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy and bacon fat is rendered. Place mesh sieve over a bowl and drain bacon, separating the bacon bits from fat. Set both the fat and cooked bacon aside. In same dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon bacon fat over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley until tender, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, beef and chicken stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of bacon fat until shimmering. Add flour; cook and stir until bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Add roux to the soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and worchestershire sauce; cook until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.
- To service, top soup with shredded cheddar cheese, cooked bacon bits, and sliced scallions.
Of course when throwing a Super Bowl Party (or should I say Soup-er Bowl Party...ba doom ching!) you may want to keep food out to snack on during the game. It is crucial that hot foods at above 135F and cold foods don't exceed 41F. Always check these temperatures every 2 hours to maintain proper food safety protocol. The best way to monitor food temperatures? Thermapen of course! I use mine pretty much every time I cook. It's incredibly accurate, easy to ready, fast, and most importantly durable.
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I tell you what, I think I have settled on my most favorite way to cook a cheeseburger. I've tried it all, grilled, sous vide, fried, forming patties by press, forming patties by hand...But, the one that I feel trumps it all, is the smash burger. Why?
- I get a fantastic crust (maillard reaction) on the outside of the burger. Grilling, while not a bad cooking method, tends to flare up and sometimes you get overcooked/burnt spots if you aren't extremely careful. "But, Eric, I want to cook my burgers on my grill!" Look at my picture! I used my Baking Steel as a griddle on my grill (Baking Steel even has a griddle version), added a few chunks of cherry wood to give it a smokey flavor, and I got a fantastic grill flavor. What a lot of people don't realize about grilling is the reason why you get the char flavor from grilling is because fat drips onto the hot coals or flavorizer bars, burns and smokes. That's where that grilled flavor comes from. So how do we get that flavor if the food isn't on the grill grates? Just spray some fat onto the coals or flavorizer bars and BOOM you get smokey goodness. In this case I used some wood, worked great and I got a smoke flavor.
- My burgers don't turn into giant, awkward, meatballs. I know, you're supposed to add a dimple to your burger patty to counteract the meatball effect. My problem adding the dimple is, what does that do your doneness? You have even thickness everywhere else, except for the center, wouldn't you imagine that the center would overcook? Smash burgers I start out as basically meatballs, get a crust on both sides and smash it down. Ever since I started doing this, I have never had a burger meatball back up. They stay in patty form!
- You don't over work the meat. People tend to add a bunch of stuff to their ground beef, mix it up, portion out the patties, form the patties. By the end, the strains of ground beef are compressed, and can lead to a dense burger. The smash burger, yes you roll into a ball, but the inside stays nice and lose, leaving to a very juicy and flavorful burger. Then, on top of that, since we get a beautiful crust on the burger from the griddle, we get a burger that doesn't fall apart. You bite into the crust and get a very juicy and flavorful burger, rather than one that may be dense, dry, and falling apart.
Gently form portioned ground beef into balls. Don't over work them, just press them enough to form them. These are 1/2 Lbs burgers, you can use this technique with whatever size burger you want, I made sliders this way as well! Season with salt and pepper on the tops.
After preheating your Baking Steel, Griddle, or Saute pan over medium high heat. Put the season side down on to the grill. Then season the other side with salt and pepper. Let it sear for a minute or two. (I also put a couple slices of onion onto the griddle, caramelized onions are the Bee's Knees!
Using a pair of tongs, flip meatballs over and sear the other side for a few minutes until crust is formed.
With a metal spatula, smash burger down into a patty. Once one side is fully seared, flip and completely sear the other side. Cook to your desired doneness and make sure to check the temp with a Thermapen Mk4. Top with cheese (if you wish) and serve!
One of my favorite kitchen tools and an essential tool in the kitchen is a Thermapen. If you are looking for a highly accurate, fast, and sturdy thermometer for the kitchen. This is the one you want!
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What do you call a cheese that isn't yours?? NACHO CHEESE!!! Baaahahahahaah....ok now that we got that out of the way.
Every now and then I have one of those culinary moments where I make something that just absolutely blows my mind. Not trying to sound cocky...more like just having a good day. This burger definitely created one of those moments, dare I say the best burger I have ever made?
I was going over my twitter feed one night when I saw Bobby Flay tweet about a nacho burger he was featuring at Bobby's Burger Palace and I thought that it sounded delicious. So, I figured I would just make my own Bobby Flay inspired Nacho Burger. I also remembered seeing somebody at some point (I know real specific) puree bacon and then add it into the burger patties. Figured since I had some left over bacon, I would kill two birds with one stone and incorporate it into the Nacho Burger. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be using this technique when making burgers for now on, the bacon just added sooo much flavor to the final product.
So why not give this burger a try, maybe make it for a few friends...maybe sit around and TACO 'bout it.....
PS I figured I would break up each component of the burger into individual recipes, just to make it a little easier. It may look like a lot, but each recipe is very simple. Also worth noting, the cheese sauce can be used for a variety of things (Nachos, cheese fries, etc) as well as the Salsa.