Bacon Cheeseburger Soup with Crispy Potato 'Croutons'
Makes about 8 servings
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for frying
Coarse black pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped chives
10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart beef broth (4 cups)
1 (12-ounce) bottle light-bodied beer
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
For the crispy potatoes: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Place the diced potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 6 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cool on a paper towel-line baking sheet. Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.
Par cook the potatoes, in batches, until lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool.
Raise the heat to 375 degrees F. Cook the potatoes a second time, in batches, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the potatoes warm in the oven.
Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and fat has rendered, about 7 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towels and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon fat. Discard the rest.
Heat 1/4 cup bacon fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one additional minute. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and seasoning salt. Stir in the flour and cook two minutes. Add the broth, beer, potatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, Dijon, hot sauce and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the milk and cheeses until melted. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary.
Toss the crispy potatoes with the chives.
Divide the soup among bowls and top with bacon and crispy potatoes. Serve immediately.