Hamburger Soup & Roasted Garlic Buns

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For lunch a couple of days ago, I pulled this soup out of my freezer for a quickie meal with a girlfriend who was dropping by, just in case she needed some sustenance on her Errand-Running Day. But it ended up being LunchFor1, and I had a blessed bowl of comfort after a busy, and somewhat stressful, morning. This recipe makes a nice, hearty soup that is perfect for enjoying with a big group, or to make ahead and freeze for future use. This was my #1 Choice as the go-to soup that my husband and I made a couple months ago in the days following my surgery. And it froze so wonderfully!

It’s been such a chilly week here in the middle of Canada, but it’s supposed to warm up for the weekend – YEAH!

A Spoonful of Comfort – Hearty Hamburger Soup

I REMEMBER…

I first had this soup about 30 years ago, and you’d think because I can remember exactly who made, when, and why, that I would have been making it every Winter for the past 30 years – NOPE. I only recently tracked it down again thanks to an old friend of mine (Thanks Shelley). And now that I’ve adapted it, I would like to share it with you, because it’s also inspiring my newly created blog – LunchFor1.com. Follow me on Twitter @LunchFor1 for easy meals that are good eats any time of the day!

But, back to the story…

There I was a 10-year old figure skater on test day, both nervous and hungry, and in need of a little, quick comfort. The nice lady at the rink’s canteen, Eleanor, had made a batch of Homemade Hamburger Soup for all of the hungry, little tikes to eat while we waited our turn before the judges.

All these years later, I still remember the heartiness and the smoothness of this soup, as well as the yummy chewiness of the barley. The key to this soup is spending the time to cut the veggies up into a fairly small pieces – 1/4″ to 1/2″ dice. The soup was a like a hug, and it’s stuck with my taste buds for these past three decades!

And for a great side-dish to this meal…

It’s a smart idea, at this or any time of the year, to keep a few Roasted Garlic heads in your fridge for these “lunch emergencies”. It was super easy for me to pull out the pre-roasted garlic head from the fridge, pop the cloves out, and quickly mash them up in order to dress up my lunch selection with an upscale spread.

Better than butter is this Roasted Garlic Spread made from mashed roasted garlic cloves - much healthier too!

This Roasted Garlic Spread is better than butter, and much healthier too!

From time-to-time, when you’ve got the oven roasting something, simply take a whole head of garlic, chop off the top portion, and place it on a piece of tin foil. Then I pour 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil on the garlic, add a pinch of sea salt, and grind some fresh pepper over it. Then I wrap it up in the tin-foil, and set it in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes. Then let it cool and slide it (tin foil and all) into a storage baggie, and place it at the back of your fridge for future use.

Or, for creating a big-batch of Roasted Garlic check out my Stove-Top Roasted Garlic post from March 2012.

But back to the star of this post – the soup… here’s the recipe…

Anna’s Hearty Hamburger Soup

1 1/2 pounds Extra Lean Ground Beef
(or 700g of any ground meat of your choice)
1 Yellow Onion, minced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1  can Diced Tomatoes (28 oz./840mL)
2 cups Hot Water
3 cans Beef Consomme or Broth (30 oz./ 900mL)
1 can Tomato Soup (10 oz./ 300mL)
4 Carrots, 1/4″ dice
1 Bay Leaf
3 stalks Celery, diced
2 tbsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 cup Pot Barley

1. Boil water in a small pot. Add 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup Pot Barley. Cook for 30 minutes. Drain and add to soup.

TIP: I prefer to cook my barley separate from my soups so that my soups
do not get overly thick from the barley’s starch.

2. Dice all the vegetables.

TIP: However, I like to mince my onions and garlic in my food processor so that
it becomes very fine – it’s much faster and easier that way.

3. Brown the beef, onions and garlic in large stock pot.

4. Add the liquids and tomatoes, and bring it all to boil.

5. Add all of the vegetables, and spices.

6. Cook for another 1/2 hour (or more), and serve with Mashed Roasted Garlic Spread and fresh buns.

It’s SOOOO good that you should probably plan to make a double batch,
and freeze some for an easy lunch on another chilly day!

What is your favourite soup to use for comfort on a cold day? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Taking an old favourite 'upscale' with a fancied-up dinner roll.

Taking an old favourite ‘upscale’ with a fancied-up dinner roll.

This soup isn’t your ‘cup of tea’?
Check out the other soup ideas that I’ve Pinned on Pinterest.

Watch for my next post on Homemade Chevre Cheese!

It takes SO little to make your own Chevre cheese at home.
An expensive indulgence for much less than you would think!
STAY TUNED THIS WEEKEND!

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