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Best of Bridge Hamburger Soup

This slow cooker version of one of the most popular Bridge recipes of all time is just as easy and just as delicious as the classic. And (sacrilege!) we’ve phased out the can of cream of tomato soup. But not to worry, we’ve also included instructions on doing it the much loved, old-fashioned way if you’d still like to use the  tomato soup. 

Serves 10
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. 11⁄2 lbs lean ground beef 750 g
  3. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  4. 4 carrots, chopped
  5. 3 celery stalks, chopped
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 1⁄2 cup pearl or pot barley 125 mL
  8. 1 tbsp sugar 15 mL
  9. 1 tbsp cornstarch 15 mL
  10. Salt and black pepper to taste
  11. 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) whole tomatoes, with juice
  12. 31⁄2 cups 875 mL ready-to-use or homemade beef broth
  13. 2 cups water 500 mL
  14. 11⁄2 cups tomato sauce 375 mL
  15. 2 tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
  1. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until starting to brown. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beef is browned and onion is softened. Scrape into a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in carrots, celery, bay leaf, barley, sugar, cornstarch, salt, pepper, tomatoes, stock, water, tomato sauce and soy sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Discard bay leaf.
  1. Tip: Hamburger soup freezes like a dream! If you’re serving a family of 4 or 5, let half the soup cool after cooking and ladle it into a freezer bag. Pull it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge in the morning, and it will be thawed in time for dinner. Pour into a soup pot and reheat.
  2. Tip: If you insist on doing it the old-fashioned way, omit the sugar, cornstarch, beef stock, tomato sauce and soy sauce, and replace them with three 10-oz (284 mL) cans of beef consommé and one 10-oz (284 mL) can of tomato soup.
The Best of Bridge

This recipe is available in the book Best of Bridge The Family Slow Cooker.