Cheeseburger as a Soup…incredibly decadent and so worth the indulgence! This soup is so rich and creamy…definitely a cheat meal and so worth every single calorie. Unlike a lot of soups that need to cook for hours and hours, the flavor develops quickly and can be finished in about 35 minutes from prep to plate! Oh…and did you see those mini-cheeseburger croutons…OMG…the perfect touch! Absolutely a project for the kiddos…they will have so much fun making them.
Heat up a soup pot to medium. Add the bacon and allow to render and crisp up just a bit. Remove with slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain any excess grease. In the same pot, with the bacon fat, add in the ground meat. Crumble and allow to cook until the meat is no longer pink. As the bacon and beef are cooking, you can prep the vegetables.
Drain all but about a quarter cup or so of fat from the pot. Add in the onion, carrots, celery and potatoes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Stir and allow the vegetables to soften for a few minutes. I do not like celery cut up in my soup, so I just use the stalks for flavor and will remove before serving. You can definitely dice up and incorporate into the soup if you wish. Add the reserved bacon. Turn up the heat just a touch. Coat the meat/vegetables with the flour. Allow to cook for a few minutes to get rid of any raw flour taste.
With a slotted spoon, stir in the chicken stock. Add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes have softened. Try not to allow your potatoes to become “mushy.”
As the soup is simmering…make the cheeseburger croutons. Form mini-burgers out of the ground beef. I made mine about an 1 1/2″ in diameter. Sauté in cast iron pan. Melt American cheese on top. As the burgers are frying, make the bun. Place two slices of bread together and cut out 1 to 1 1/2″ circles. This will give you the top and bottom. I was able to get two from both slices. Place cut circles on a non-stick pan. Brush with olive oil and top with sesame seeds, gently pushing down into bread. Broil just until toasty (few minutes). Skewer in the form of a mini-cheeseburger on a toothpick. You may want to make a few extra of these…they will be devoured quickly!
Once the soup is done simmering, remove and discard the celery stocks and bay leaves. Stir in the heavy whipping cream. Allow to heat up just a minute or so. Slowly…very slowly…incorporate the Velveeta and shredded cheddar cheeses. I used four of these Velveeta Mini Blocks. Taste for salt.
Serve in bowls garnished with shredded cheddar, fresh parsley and a mini-cheeseburger crouton or two! ENJOY!