I know what you’re thinking — hamburger soup? Has she taken flight back to the 1950’s and the days of Cheez Whiz-topped hot dogs?
Actually, sort of. A friend left a pot of this soup at my back door years ago after the death of a family member. I had no appetite during those crazy, sad days and I wasn’t cooking for my family.
My first bowl of this brew melted any feelings of angst — I was going to be OK. We were all going to be OK. What was it about a simple concoction like hamburger soup that was so…comforting?
Perhaps it was the familiarity of the ingredients. We grew up eating ground beef and frozen vegetables, and Worcestershire Sauce was a staple in my mother’s larder. That and Heinz 57 Sauce, which I slathered on hamburger patties any night but Fridays, when I more-often-than-not dined on Swanson tuna pot pies.
Yesterday the sun shone all day in Kansas City and the weather warmed up enough for almost all of the snow to melt. Spring is coming, I thought to myself, until I heard next week’s forecast for more snow.
Eek! I ran to my computer and Googled hamburger soup. Most of the recipes were pretty cast-in-the-past, but the one on the popular Pioneer Woman web site closely resembled the recipe my friend gave me so many years ago that I had lost. Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond isn’t exactly a low-fat cook; her recipe calls for more than twice the amount of ground beef that I used. But her taste buds are right-on, and I followed her instructions almost to a T, with the exception that I added a bit of Worcestershire Sauce. I also cut back on the bell peppers (she used three whole peppers) in order to make room for a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
Ree says that you can use any vegetables you like, but if you’re like me and you want to take a taste trip down memory lane, you’ll stick with the usual suspects — carrots, potatoes, mixed veggies. I’m not looking for fusion cuisine here, just a steaming bowl of comfort. And boy, does this soup hit the spot.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 1/2-oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
5 red potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16-oz.) bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper
In a Dutch oven heat olive oil and brown beef with onions, celery and garlic. Spoon off any melted fat. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with grated Parmesan Cheese and/or sriracha (hot) sauce.
WW PP per serving: 7