Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cheeseburger Soup

I'll admit it, I am a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I ate at one of the places Guy Fieri featured on the show (long before the episode aired, which I also reviewed) called Grover's in East Amherst NY. Here's a link to the DDD segment on You Tube.

They are known for their massive burgers and chicken wings. The first few times I went I didn't realize they had another specialty. Cheeseburger Soup. The last time I went I tried it out and thought they had captured the essence of a cheeseburger in a comfort soup form, I really liked it. I needed to try and replicate it at home. I found a recipe on the net and made a few changes to suit my taste:

Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
16 oz beef stock
2 1/2 cups milk
1 block of Velveeta, cubed
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp butter
2 chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour mixed with 3/4 cup water (for thickener)

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt butter and sweat onion until translucent, remove and reserve. Add ground beef and cook until the water has evaporated and the beef browns and gets a bit crispy. Remove from pan and drain if there is an excess of rendered fat, reserve beef. Don't worry if some beef sticks to the pot, you want this.

Add your beef stock & flour slurry, bring to boil scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Add the milk and Velveeta. Cook until all the cheese is melted, not boiling. Add in reserved onion, hamburger, seasoned salt and pepper.

Cover and cook for about an 1 hour on low heat stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls adding the lettuce and tomatoes on top mixing them in at the last minute.

Homemade Pizza

I have been searching for a worthwhile pizza recipe to use at home for a while. I want a balance of crisp crust with a chewy interior. Most recipes I have tried in the past were either too bready, lacking exterior crispness or turned too crisp and lacked chew. On top of that I was looking for a somewhat yeasty, sweet flavour to the crust without having to let it sit in the fridge for three to five days to develop flavour (who really has that much foresight anyway)?

I wanted to use my bread machine because it's easy to clean and it is on hand most of the time (unlike my KitchenAid mixer which gathers dust until Christmas cookie baking occurs). I stumbled upon a bread machine recipe at All Recipes called Bread Machine Pizza Dough which is really easy to make and work with. I usually have to add a bit of flour to my work surface before I pan it as it comes out on the sticky side. As written it is a wonderful recipe. I usually crank the heat to 550°F and cook the pizza on a 16" perforated aluminum pizza pan for 10-12 minutes.

For a sauce I usually use another found on All Recipes called Exquisite Pizza Sauce. Again, it's super simple and extremely tasty. I make it as written except leave out the anchovy paste as I don't usually have it on hand.

Yesterday I made a couple of pizzas using the crust recipe mentioned above and a neapolitan sauce recipe which I didn't like so I'm not going to bother posting it. I doubled the crust recipe and made a Margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella and basil and a loaded pizza using brick mozzarella, Italian sausage, bacon, pepperoni, red onion and green olives.

The results? Check 'em out:

I found a couple more pics of pizzas I've made using the recipes posted above. The first was made with deli pepperoni, speck, green pepper, onion and olives. The second was topped the same with Piller's pepperoni instead of deli pepperoni.

As a personal aside, my favourite pepperoni is made by Bridgford I buy the pre-sliced packs for my pizzas whenever I can, I buy the sticks for my pepperoni rolls.