What a strange winter it has been. On the day I was writing this, it was 60 degrees outside. I finally turned the seat warmer off in my car. I admired the flowering crocuses in my garden, and the daffodil greens were at least 6 inches high.
True spring is just over a week away. But Maryland weather can be quite unpredictable, so I won’t be packing up my wool sweaters any time soon. And as soon as the sun hits that low angle in the sky, the temperatures drop pretty quickly. All this is to say, I’m still planning to make plenty of pots of soup.
This first recipe, for cheeseburger soup, was quite a hit with my family. My kids won’t eat cheeseburgers (or melted cheese on anything besides pizza), but they did enjoy this soup. I used frozen home fries instead of dicing the potatoes myself, and they turned out great. This recipe calls for a lot of dairy, between the cheddar and Monterey Jack, cream cheese and sour cream, so I suggest adding half at a time and adjusting it to your own preferences.
The second recipe is for mushroom and wild rice soup. I haven’t tried this one, but the fact that you can make it in the slow cooker made me interested. It starts out broth based, but you make it creamy at the end by making a roux with butter and flour and then adding milk. Pour the creamy sauce in at the end and give it a good 20 minutes to incorporate together.
And finally, this one is kind of fancy but easy, a “lightened up” lobster bisque. You prepare the soup on its own and puree the vegetables and seafood broth together, then top it with lobster meat at the end. I’m allergic to lobster, but this sounds like one of those fun ways to treat yourself and a loved one to something special at home.
16 ounces lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large carrots, shredded
1 medium white onion, diced
3 celery ribs diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (or use frozen, cubed home fries)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 ounces)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 8 ounces)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup sour cream
Chopped green onions
Using a large pot or Dutch oven, add beef; place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until beef is fully cooked. Drain excess fat from pot and set beef aside.
In the same pot, add olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add shredded carrots, diced onions, diced celery, garlic, basil, parsley and oregano; stir until well combined. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Add potatoes, chicken broth and cooked ground beef; stir until well combined. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
Reduce heat to low. Add cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Cook until cheeses have fully melted.
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
Garnish with chopped green onions before serving.
Mushroom wild rice soup
For the slow cooker:
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
3 carrots a bit more than 1 cup, diced
3 stalks celery
1 cup onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 cups broth vegetable or chicken
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 large handfuls kale leaves, roughly chopped, with thick stems removed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
For the stovetop:
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
Add all ingredients under “slow cooker” to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook for 2 to 3 hours on high.
Then, melt the butter in a pan on the stovetop. Add the flour and sauté for a minute until the raw smell is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in the milk, a little at a time until you have a smooth, thick consistency.
Add the roux to the slow cooker and stir well. Allow to thicken for about 10 minutes before serving.
Lightened-up lobster bisque
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 large white onion, diced
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves, dried
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned (about 13 ounces)
1/2 cup white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
1 bay leaf
2 cups seafood broth
1/2 cup half and half
2 lobster tails, thawed
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and onion.
When the onion starts to cook down (1 to 2 minutes), add in the celery, carrots, paprika, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add in the crushed tomatoes and white wine, stirring to combine. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
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Add in the seafood broth and bay leaf. Place a lid on the stock pot and set a timer for 15 minutes.
While the bisque is cooking, begin to cook the lobster tails by boiling a pot of salted water. Once the water is boiling, add in the 2 lobster tails and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shell turns bright red.
When the lobster is finished cooking, drain the water and remove lobster tails. Using a sharp chef’s knife or kitchen scissors, cut directly down the lobster shell vertically. Once cut, squeeze the lobster so that the shell separates, remove the lobster meat and set aside.
When the bisque is finished cooking, remove the bay leaf and blend all the ingredients (excluding the lobster) in a blender or use an immersion blender in the bottom of the stock pot. Blend until smooth.
Pour the bisque back into the pot (if using a blender) and add 1/2 cup half and half. Stir to combine.
Serve in a bowl with lobster meat in the middle and enjoy!