I was very skeptical about this recipe, but a friend talked me into it. The family really liked it, so it will be used often. If you are a "tinkerer" this soup is tailor made for alterations and tweaking.
1 pound ground beef
8 slices bacon
2-3 Tbsp diced onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 c flour
3 1/2 c beef broth (or 2 c beef broth + 1 can or bottle of beer)
1 large potato (I use Yukon Gold), cut into 1/2" cubes
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes (my kids don't like tomato chunks so I use a pint jar of home-canned tomatoes and puree them)
1 c milk
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
cayenne to taste
black pepper to tase
4 Tbsp dill pickle, diced (optional)
toasted hamburger bun (cut into chunks) or croutons (optional)
Brown the hamburger in a frying pan. Drain off fat and move hamburger into a large sauce pan (no heat under the sauce pan yet). Keep the frying pan handy for sauteing veggies.
Cook the bacon by whatever method you prefer (I microwave it). Reserve some grease and put into frying pan. Cut the bacon into 1 inch chunks and put into sauce pan with hamburger.
Place onions and carrots into frying pan and cook in grease until tender. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Mix in flour and let it cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add more grease (from hamburger or bacon) if necessary. Scrape veggies/flour into sauce pan. You won't need the frying pan anymore.
The beef, bacon and veggies should be in the sauce pan. Start medium heat under the sauce pan and add broth (or broth/beer), potato, ketchup, mustard, worcestershire, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (15 minutes)
Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes. Add milk and cheese (if you add these when the soup is still boiling hot, they will just gum up into globs of stuff that Salt Creek can probably explain scientifically). Stir to mix the milk and cheese. Add cayenne and black pepper to taste.
Serve garnished with chunks of toasted hamburger bun or croutons (optional) and some of the diced dill pickle (also optional). I didn't think I would like the dill pickle garnish, but it was actually really tasty.
This is a very hearty (filling) soup. It is great when made a day or 2 ahead of time and then put into a crock pot (on low) to reheat.