Hope you put on your party pants today – or, better yet, stretchy pants – because we are celebrating one of America’s most iconic foods: the cheeseburger. That’s right, Wednesday is National Cheeseburger Day! A favorite on this foodie’s calendar, although celebrated more than I’d like to admit.
There are many claims as to who created that first cheese-laden burger, which became popular in the late 1920s. It’s reputed that Lionel Sternberger, while just a teenager in 1924, introduced the cheeseburger when he experimentally put cheese on a hamburger at his father’s roadside sandwich shop, the Rite Spot in Pasadena, California.
The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce even commemorated Sternberger’s tasty creation with a plaque at the site that the Rite Spot once stood, which is now a bank. I’m taking that American classic sandwich out of your hands and serving it in a bowl with cheeseburger soup. Is your face screaming, “Ewww?!” Well, I promise you that it’s anything but ewww!
Loaded with ground beef, cheese, onions, tomatoes and pickles, it’s creamy and satisfying, hitting all the delicious burger flavors and textures. And in true cheeseburger fashion, it can be finished off with a variety of toppings: additional cheese, pickles, tomatoes and onions or croutons and bacon bits.
Bacon also can be cooked and added into the soup. And while ground beef is used to mimic the taste and ingredients of a real cheeseburger, you can substitute ground turkey, chicken or sausage, and the results will be just as tasty.
For a heartier soup, try it with macaroni noodles. And, for some spice, hot sauce, red pepper flakes or pepper jack cheese can be added.
Adapted from shewearsmanyhats.com.
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 cup dill pickle juice
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
24 ounces beef broth
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pickles, chopped
1 cup half and half or heavy cream
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded cheese, chopped pickles, diced tomatoes, diced onions and bacon bits
Add ground beef and onions to a large stockpot and cook over medium heat, breaking apart the meat, until browned. Drain off excess oil and stir in garlic, salt and pepper and flour and continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Mixture will be dry, and flour may become slightly browned. Stir in parsley, pickle juice, mustard, beef broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add in pickles, half and half and shredded cheese; stir until melted. Continue cooking on low heat for another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Serve topped with cheese, pickles, tomatoes, onions and bacon bits, if desired.
Audrey Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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