Revised 2013 May 01
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups stock
salt and pepper to taste
4 small tomatoes
1/2 small iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
In a small stock pot cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towelling to drain. Remove all but a tablespoon of the oil and reserve.
Cook some of the ground beef until well browned and even crispy. Start with less than you think you can do at one time because it will not crisp if overcrowded.
Dice the onion and add it to the pot with the bacon fat. Cook for a few minutes until the onion begins to caramelise then add the remainder of the ground beef. Add some salt and pepper and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Remove most of the meat then turn up the heat and cook until the remaining meat begins to caramelise and builds a fond. Remove the remaining meat and let the pot cool somewhat.
Return the pot to the heat and add the butter. Once the foaming subsides scrape up the fond, add the flour, and cook until it just starts to turn colour. Slowly add the milk until it is fully incorporated then add the cheese reserving some for garnish. Taste for seasoning.
Add the stock as required to bring the soup to the desired consistency then return the meat to the pot and cook for another twenty minutes or so
Cut all of the toppings into spoon size pieces
Ladle the soup into six bowls and either top with the bacon, lettuce, and tomato or let your diners add their own.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to get old yellow cheddar that's decent. I used a 2yr old Balderson which is adequate. If you can't get that old use a younger cheese and supplement with a really old white cheddar. I haven't tried it but I think that the old cheese (I had 8yr) might be too strong if used exclusively (I can hardly believe I said that). Grover's uses a liquefied product of unknown provenance.
The original uses chicken stock, Caterina used beef, and I had some homemade chicken. I don't think it matters too much as long as it's good stock.
Do not be tempted to skip the browning of part of the beef as it's essential to the 'burger' flavour of the soup. If you watch the video you'll see that Grovers cooks the meat on the flat-top.
Keeps well but you'll need some more stock when re-heating
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