Thursday, March 30, 2017

Oklahoma Theta Burger Soup

You know I'm an Oklahoma Girl through and through.  In the past I've shared several recipes that have their roots here in Oklahoma, including Cattlemen's Salad Dressing and the Famous Oklahoma Club Special.  Another recipe with its history tied to my state is the Theta Burger.  It's a hamburger topped with mayonnaise, pickles, hickory sauce and shredded cheese.  It's definitely on the menu just about every place in Norman and Oklahoma City and I've heard it's even available at a place or two in Austin, Texas.  I'm unsure of when the burger was actually invented, but the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority at the University of Oklahoma lays claim to having their name on it and the version I'd like to believe is that the burger was invented right here in Norman, OK by Ralph Geist who owned the historic Town Tavern that stood on campus corner for many years.  Legend says during the 1930s and 1940s the sorority had a curfew of 10 pm and would call the Town Tavern for a late night burger delivery.  Ralph always obliged, but as you can imagine a house full of hungry sorority girls would have quite a complicated order.  Legend says Ralph compromised and invented a burger they could all agree upon.  He named it after them and added it to his menu.  The true story may be lost to history, but thankfully the burger survives to this day.  It's my husband's favorite burger and we got the wild idea to create it in soup version, inspired by my friend Brandi at Aunt Bee's Recipes and her Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Soup.  We garnished the hearty bowl of soup with plenty of shredded cheese, chopped pickles and a generous drizzle of mayo and hickory sauce.  It tastes EXACTLY like a Theta Burger in a Bowl.  It's incredible.  Trust me.  You may think the combination is unusual, especially if you're not from around here and aren't used to seeing the Theta on your local burger menu.  But there's a reason this flavor combination has survived for nearly 100 years.  If you can't make it down to Norman for a true Theta Burger, then definitely try my version in a bowl!
It's just like a Theta in a Bowl!
The ingredient line up...
Garnish with mayo, Hickory sauce, chopped pickled
and plenty of shredded cheese for the Authentic Theta Flavor!

Oklahoma Theta Burger Soup

8 slices uncooked bacon, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound sliced white mushrooms
1/2 chopped onion
4 cups peeled, cubed potatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (I didn't have Montreal Seasoning so I used "Panhandle Chicken Fried Steak Seasoning" because you know: OKLAHOMA)
1 quart beef broth
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Hickory Sauce
chopped pickles
additional shredded cheese for garnish

Sauté chopped bacon in a large stock pot until crispy. Remove the bacon from pan & drain on a paper towel, leaving drippings in the pot.  Increase the heat to medium add the ground beef, sliced mushrooms and chopped onions. Brown and then remove most of the leftover fat.  Add the minced garlic & sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn the heat to high and add the potatoes, beef broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and steak seasoning. Boil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Add the reserved bacon pieces back into the pot.  Reduce the heat to low & add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
Garnish with mayonnaise, hickory sauce, chopped pickles and additional shredded cheese.

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 25 minutes 

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