© Abby Hocking
Active Time
1 HR
Total Time
1 HR 30 MIN
Yield
Serves : 6 to 8

We like to garnish our hearty and deeply satisfying soup with the works: hamburger bun croutons, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, dill pickles and scallions. Slideshow: More Soup Recipes

How to Make It

Step 1    

Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread cubes with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the sheet from front to back halfway through. Transfer the croutons to a wire rack.

Step 2    

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 14 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels. Stir the ground sirloin into the pan, season with a pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Wipe out the saucepan.

Step 3    

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over moderate heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until well coated, 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, meat, potatoes, chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the soup is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Step 4    

Stir the 3 cups of cheese into the soup and cook until melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, until softened and hot. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the croutons, bacon, cheese, pickles, scallions and the remaining 1/2 cup of tomatoes. Serve.

Make Ahead

The soup can be refrigerated for 4 days. The croutons can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week.

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