Every month or so I do a cooking segment on Charlotte Today, a live local entertainment and lifestyle show. My features a recipe for an obscure food holiday celebrated that month. Last week was Soup Week and I thought a bacon cheeseburger soup topped with fried potato cubes would be fun. I’d never made this soup, but it sounded really good in my head so I sent in the recipe idea.
After my soup concept was approved, I had to come up with a recipe. I did a little research online and didn’t really find anything I liked. So I developed my own cheeseburger soup recipe. I constructed it based on what I like on my bacon cheeseburger and Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons was born.
I tested the recipe a couple of times and each time my husband proposed. He really liked the soup.
When I submitted my recipe I made a joke that it was a man catchin’ soup based on my husband’s reaction. I discovered on the morning of my show that the promos for my soup indicated its man grabbin’ capabilities. This was going to be a fun segment because I love talking about men and food. Little did I know two special men were scheduled to appear on the show—singer Edwin McCain and celebrity landscaper Ahmed Hassan.
I never know who’s going to be on Charlotte Toda when I’m scheduled. I just show up and cook. While I was prepping my ingredients Edwin McCain walked into the studio. I’ve been a fan of his music for a long time and he sounds awesome live.
I don’t really get star struck or anything like that, but I had to tell him that he was one of two men on my Echo Mike playlist. I love his song I’ll Be and sometimes when the feeling hits me I have to pull out my Echo Mike and belt out that song—to the dismay of my family and friends. I also shared with Edwin—I get to call him Edwin because he’s now on the BFF list—that Prince was the other male artist on the list. When I hear the opening to Adore I lose it and out pops the Echo Mike. Edwin’s a big Prince fan too which sealed our fates as BFFs.
Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize Ahmed Hassan. I’m a cook and I hate yard work so I don’t watch landscaping shows. Well, it turns out that Ahmed—my other new BFF—is extremely popular among the landscaping set. I was intrigued by him at the studio because he was very handsome and extremely cool. I was so clueless that I thought he was a member of Edwin’s band. Later when I checked my cellphone I had several texts in CAPs from female friends freaking out that I was on TV with Ahmed Hassan—AAAAAAAAH!
Even though yard work and I will never see eye to eye, I think Ahmed is a really cool dude. Thanks to his segment on composting I started my own compost project that includes both green and brown composting materials, as recommended by my green BFF. My husband congratulated me on my first steps toward being one with the earth.
When the time came for me to do my segment with co-host Ramona Holloway, she introduced my soup as a man-catchin’ soup. I hadn’t prepared notes to support this claim, but I work well on my feet so I just improvised some man-catchin’ banter. While I was demonstrating the soup’s preparation, Edwin and Ahmed joined in for an impromptu testing of the soups man nabbing abilities. I handed them each a bowl and they flashed the universal sign for “Andria, you’re amazing and we’re so much better for having met you.” This sign consists of a throwing back of the head, eye rolling and an a manly “Mmm.” I’ve seen it many times and it’s become a powerful phenomenon over the years.
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons is so awesome that I caught not one, but two men. And not just any men, but two celebrity men. My new BFFs devoured their soup and I made them honorary members of my fan club.
Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Crispy Potato Croutons
Makes about 6 servings
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for frying
Coarse black pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions
10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart beef broth (4 cups)
1 (12-ounce) bottle light-bodied beer
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
For the crispy potatoes: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Place the diced potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cool on a paper towel-line baking sheet. Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels.
Heat the oil in a high-side skillet over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.
Par cook the potatoes, in batches, until lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a paper-towel lined baking sheet to drain and cool.
Raise the temperature to 375 degrees F. Cook the potatoes a second time, in batches, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the potatoes warm in the oven.
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon fat. Discard the rest.
Heat 1/4 cup bacon fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one additional minute. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.
Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and seasoning salt. Stir in the flour and cook two minutes.
Add the broth, beer, potatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, Dijon, hot sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the milk and cheeses until melted. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary.
Toss the crispy potatoes with the chives.
Divide the soup among bowls and top with bacon and crispy potatoes. Serve immediately.