Monday, September 1, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder

It's August, and as I write and schedule this post, it is amazing that it will go live after football starts, and the day before school starts.  The end of summer, the beginning of fall.  I commented to J recently that this will be my 36th Back to School.  I've never done anything since I was 5 but go back to school in September.  This year will be no exception.  Today's weather was even reminiscent of fall - we didn't reach 70F.  I wore jeans and at one point considered finding a cardigan.  It's August.  I KNOW.  J says it's to get me ready for school again.  I say it's a cruel, cruel joke in the middle of my vacation.  Ahem.
This month for my Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was given the wonderful Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen.  Kelly lives on a lake in New Jersey with her husband and the really cute Gilbert the wonder kitty.  I'm guessing he's as spoiled as the cat here - and he had an even more traumatic experience than Missy's voyage in the washing machine before arriving in his current home.
I had a good time looking through Kelly's blog, trying to choose something to make.  I'd had in my head that I wanted to make a dessert, preferably ice cream from the blog I was assigned in September.  I'm not sure why I decided this before knowing whose blog I would be perusing, but I did.  And none of the desserts spoke to me.
I mean, the butter rum ice cream sauce sounded divine, and the Peppermint Fudge Brownies looked really good too.  I'll need to make them in the future.  But as I poked around, and looked at the weather for this week, I finally settled on this delicious sounding soup.
I don't often make cream soups.  I'm much more likely to make something broth-based and full of vegetables and pasta.  When I read this, I wanted to try it - with just a couple of modifications.  I'm not a fan of Velveeta or cabbage, and it sounded that there was a lot of butter and cream going on.  But like all good Secret Recipe Club recipes, it demanded that I dirty every dish in my kitchen.
And the taste?  So good.
I present to you now from Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen Bacon Cheeseburger Chowder:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp Herbes de Provence
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c chicken broth
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 can Evaporated milk
2 c shredded cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
6 slices bacon, crumbled
1.  In a Dutch oven, brown ground beef, stirring to break up as it cooks.  Add onion, celery and carrot, stirring frequently until beef is no longer pink and onions are translucent.  Add spices and garlic.
2.  Stir in potatoes and broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until potatoes are very tender.
3.  As the soup simmers, make the cheese sauce:  in a 2 cup glass measure, melt butter in the microwave (45 seconds).  Stir in flour, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.  Wisk in milk gradually.  Cook 1-1/2 minutes in microwave, stir and cook again 1-1/2 minutes.  Stir again, adding most of the shredded cheese, reserving 1/8 cup for garnish.
4.  When potatoes are tender, stir cheese sauce in to soup, and add bacon, reserving a few pieces for garnish.  Heat through, stirring, until bacon is hot and soup is starting to bubble.

Adapted from Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen 

Kelly's recipe included a recipe for oven-dried cherry tomatoes.  They sounded yummy.  So I started them.
Then I did this to them.  I want to try again, but we have to wait until I have more cherry tomatoes.  Moving on.
I decided instead of draining the beef to cook the onions, celery and carrots with it.  I used half a red onion and half a regular cooking onion.  I thought it might add some colour after the tomato fiasco, but with the cheese sauce you really couldn't tell.
Kelly used Velveeta because she didn't want the soup to end up greasy and stringy.  My comment to J was that I didn't remember the cheese sauce from my macaroni and cheese being stringy.  Based on the ingredients that were going into the soup at the same time, it sounded similar to that sauce.  I used evaporated milk to make it richer.
J ate 2 bowls for dinner, so I'd call that a success.  I also made a loaf of sundried tomato bread in the bread machine to go with the soup.
Rich, creamy and delicious.  A perfect soup for fall; or a day that prophecies what is to come.  Sigh.


  1. This looks AMAZING! Yummmmm. :)

  2. What a filling soup! The guys will love it....great SRC choice. Visiting from Group B.

  3. Yum. I love soup and this one looks so delightful. Hilarious what happened to the tomatoes!

  4. what a great soup! sorry about those tomatoes, haha.

  5. That looks delish! I love your mug too

  6. What a great concept for a soup...and sooo filling!

  7. I do love fall, but I wish it didn't lead so quickly to winter ... :/
    That looks like a great fall meal.

  8. This is one of those perfect chilly day dinners. Can't wait to try this recipe!