Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Double bacon cheeseburger soup over the fire

This past weekend, we had double bacon cheeseburger in soup form, cooked over the fire. It was, without doubt, the best soup we'd ever made. Perhaps even the best meal.

Now, mind you, this takes a fair bit of prep work. It's best to have an extra hand or two. Preferably, someone to start and stoke the fire, and do the heavy lifting, while you clean and prep ingredients, because it's a laundry list. But it's worth it.

So, first, get yourself a lazy Sunday afternoon, and some decent weather, and then grab your fire pit, logs, tripod and iron kettle. Then prepare for the Best Soup Ever.

Double bacon cheeseburger soup (adapted from Closet Cooking)

1/2 lb. ground chuck, browned
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T flour
1 stalk broccoli, chopped
1/2 container baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
Water for soaking
4 cups beef broth, divided (If cooking over the stove, you may need less.)
1/2 bottle dark beer
2 T. ketchup
1 T. spicy mustard
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes (don't drain)
1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar

Make sure you start about an hour before you want to cook this. Also, you'll want the fire started about a half hour before you're ready.

Brown beef and cook bacon. Set aside in small bowl. Chop onion, carrot, green pepper and garlic. Saute in olive oil until soft. Add flour and stir until combined. Set aside in large bowl. Chop broccoli and mushrooms. Add to onion mixture. Peel and chop potatoes. Put in bowl and cover with cold water until it's time to mix the soup. Mix beef broth, and separate into two containers of 2 cups each. (I used mason jars). Mix ketchup, mustard, worcestershire and tomatoes. Add to meat mixture. Crack the beer. Shred cheese and put in fridge. Now, crack yourself a beer because that was a lot of work, folks.

So, now you should have:

- A meat mixture bowl
- A bowl of vegetables
- A bowl of potatoes in water
- Two jars of beef broth
- One bottle of beer
- A container of shredded cheese

If cooking over the fire:

Make sure fire is going at a fairly good clip. Set chain so that fire will just lick the bottom of the cast iron pot.  You don't want the whole thing engulfed in flame.

Fill pot with the meat mixture, the vegetables, the potatoes (drained), one jar of the beef broth (2 cups) and 1/2 the bottle of beer. Set pot over fire on chain. You'll want this to cook about 20-30 minutes, max.

Once cooked, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Take the pot off the fire. Add remaining broth as needed, and cheese. Stir and cover. Let sit about 20 minutes or so inside. Serve with bread.

If cooking on the stove:

Set heat to medium high, and fill the pot with the meat mixture, the vegetables, the potatoes (drained), one jar of the beef broth (2 cups) and 1/2 the bottle of beer. Bring to a boil, and then set to simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add cheese and extra broth if needed. Stir and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve with bread.

Fyi, I served this with beer bread I'd made that morning. Excellent pairing! I really can't recommend cooking over the fire enough. We're fairly new to it, but everything we've made has been just awesome!

NOTE: for the fire, we use Cabela's cast-iron pot, tripod and lid lifter. They are awesome! No relation or sponsorship here, just a big fan.