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A Different Twist on Soup

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SOUPified: Soups Inspired by Your Favorite Dishes, by Michele Di Pietro
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Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like a steamy bowl of soup! 

I recently received a copy of a new cookbook all about soups from Michele Di Pietro, creator of New York-based Mangia With Michele. 

It’s not your ordinary soup cookbook.

SOUPified: Soups Inspired by Your Favorite Dishes is a whimsical and fun collection of soup recipes that were inspired by popular dishes like Eggplant Parm, Chicken Marsala, Lasagne, Shrimp Scampi, Philly Cheesesteak and even Chinese Egg Rolls.

Feel like getting creative in the kitchen? Michele shared her tips on how you too can how to turn your favorite dishes into a spoonable, bowl version.

The first step is to determine if something can be SOUPified successfully. She said you need to become deeply intimate with the underlying dish: dissect its most significant flavors and textures and decide which are the most significant and those that would need to be present in the final SOUPified version.

Michele said to plan out every detail and ingredient of the SOUPified version before heading into the kitchen. Decide if the soup should be brothy, pureed, thick, thin, chunky, hearty, light, hot or cold. These decisions should be based on the characteristics of the underlying dish.

And don’t forget … the ingredients should not veer away from the original dish in order to maintain its core soul and spirit.

Her Bacon Cheeseburger Soup is one of the most popular soups in the cookbook and the perfect example of a SOUPified dish. Michele said she knew that the SOUPified version had to be “total and complete comfort food with tons of flavor, just like its bacon cheeseburger counterpart.” The recipe for this hearty soup is up on WKNOFM.org.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

Michele Di Pietro is an entrepreneur, chef, culinary consultant, food writer, cookbook author, blogger, and creator of Mangia With Michele, the expression of her lifelong passion for Italian ingredients, foods, recipes, culture, and traditions.

For more information on SOUPifiedSoups Inspired by Your Favorite Dishes, visit www.mangiawithmichelle.com.

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound bacon cut into ½-inch strips while raw
  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef (90/10 is perfect)
  • 2 cups diced yellow onions (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 heaping cup shredded carrots (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 to 4 ribs)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and diced, held in cold water to prevent browning
  • 6 tablespoons pickle juice (from your favorite pickle jar)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cut into very small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (about 4 onions)
  • ¼ cup white sesame seeds (optional topping)
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional topping)
  • 1 recipe Hamburger Roll Croutons (below)

Prepare Hamburger Roll Croutons and set aside.

Cook bacon: Place bacon in 6-quart (or larger) pot or Dutch over medium heat. Slowly cook it until it becomes crispy and most of the fat has been rendered. Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set it aside to drain on paper towels. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of rendered fat from the pot and use for other purpose or discard. Leave enough fat to cover bottom of pot.

Brown beef: Increase heat to medium-high. Then add beef, onions, carrots, and celery and cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until all the beef has browned. Break it up into bite-sized pieces while stirring.

Sprinkle flour on top of beef mixture; stir to coat and continue stirring for 1 to 2 minutes while flour cooks. Gradually pour in broth and whisk mixture quickly to fully incorporate flour into liquid until smooth. Then stir to loosen and scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pot.

Add milk, potatoes (drain first if being held in water), pickle juice, mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauces, salt, and black pepper and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Cover pot and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, about 12 to 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender, stirring frequently. Do not boil soup once milk is added to prevent curdling.

Reduce heat to low. Then gradually whisk in cheeses, 1 cup at a time, ensuring each cup has melted before adding the next. Stir in green onions and about ¾ of the crispy bacon, then turn off heat.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with Hamburger Roll Croutons, remaining bacon, and optional toppings, if desired.

Hamburger Roll Croutons

  • 3 hamburger rolls cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Arrange rack in middle of the oven, then preheat to 375°F.

Toss cubed bread with oil. Then arrange cubes in a single layer on parchment-lined sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake bread on middle rack for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Set aside, uncovered, at room temperature.

You can make these croutons 3 to 4 hours in advance and hold them, uncovered, at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from SOUPified: Soups Inspired by Your Favorite Dishes, by Michele Di Pietro, AKA It’s All About The Food DBA Mangia With Michele, 2020.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.