On this bitterly cold day, it seems like a good time to share this hearty soup recipe. Cold, dreary days make me long for the comfort of a hot bowl of soup. This is our middle daughter's favorite dinner. I did not anticipate how emotional I would be when I made it for her last week. I won't be able to make it again for her for a while since she just got married and moved out of state.
The first step is to brown the beef and soften the vegetables with the basil and parsley in a large pot over medium heat. If your family doesn't like basil, substitute oregano or leave it out altogether.
Then add the chicken broth and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Mix the flour into 1/2 cup of cold water in a small jar with a tight fitting lid (or combine with a whisk in a small bowl).
Add the flour, water mixture to the soup stirring constantly until the soup thickens. Turn the heat back to low and add the remaining ingredients except the sour cream. Heat, stirring occasionally until the cheese is melted. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sour cream. I serve this soup with rolls and fresh fruit or carrots and celery.
To make the soup in a slow cooker: Brown and drain the ground beef and add it to the slow cooker with the vegetables, parsley, basil, chicken broth and potatoes and cook on low for four to five hours. Turn slow cooker to high and bring to a boil, add flour mixed with 1/2 cup water and stir until thickened. Stir in the milk, cheese, salt and pepper and continue cooking and occasionally stirring until cheese is melted. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream.
To freeze the soup: I don't like the texture of potatoes that have been frozen, and sour cream tends to separate when it has been frozen so I don't freeze the completed soup. The way I get around this is to double the beef, vegetables and herbs and cook them as for the original recipe. At this point, I remove half of the mixture and cool before placing it in a zip top bag and freezing it. This does make assembling the soup quite a bit quicker. You could simply double the recipe and freeze half if these aren't issues for you.
1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrot, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 3 bullion cubes)
4 cups potatoes, cubed (1 3/4 pounds)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
8 ounces American cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
Brown ground beef over medium heat in a dutch oven, drain. Add vegetables, parsley and basil and saute until tender. Add broth and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mix flour with water, stir into boiling soup. Cook and stir for two minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper, cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.
8 servings (about 10 cups)