Most people can relate to having a food joint that they crave. For me, most of my favorites are no longer in the same state as I am; it is a double edged sword because I can avoid them by distance, but I over indulge when I get within reach! To avoid the madness of this obsessive behavior, I have tried to recreate my own versions for the time being.
In college, I worked at a famed Iowa staple known for its barbecue: Hickory Park. If you are from the area or have ever found yourself in Ames, Iowa You’ve likely eaten at this fine establishment.
If you haven’t ever been to Hickory Park, let me paint you a picture. It’s a family owned spot dating back to 1970, famed for it’s extensive menu of BBQ, burgers & an ice cream parlour. It seats 450 people at a time and there is almost ALWAYS a line. It’s quality comfort food at it’s finest & lets just say I took full advantage of my employee discount. Truly, I loved working as a waitress, especially at Hickory Park – but the convenience of getting food to go at the end of my shifts did not do my waistline any favors.
Hickory Park has a handful of dishes that hold my heart, One of them being Cheeseburger Chowder. While I’m sure the restaurant version includes quality, luscious ingredients like Velveeta cheese (hint: Sarcasm), I wanted to make a cleaner version of this dish to enjoy without the consequences of liquid dairy gold.
So here is my version: natural ingredients, no dairy, but creamy as ever!
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 Tbsp Ghee
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled & cubed
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 1/2 C frozen hashbrowns
- 3 C chicken or veggie broth
- 1 C coconut cream
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast - optional for "cheesy"
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp Salt & 1/4 tsp pepper
- Optional Garnish:
- Bacon bits
- Green onions
- First, in a medium to large pot or dutch oven heat 1 tbsp oil. Add the ground beef & cook until browned.
- Once beef is fully cooked, remove from pan. Drain excess fat & set aside.
- Next, Melt Ghee in the pot.
- Add onions to the ghee & saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds - 1 minute.
- Add the potatoes & chicken broth to the pot. Cover & reduce heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender.
- The next step will be to blend the ingredients with the coconut milk & this can be accomplished 2 ways:
- Option 1. Remove ingredients from the pot & place in a blender. Add coconut milk & combine until smooth. If you wish to have onions in your soup, leave some out of the blending process.
- Option 2. Add the coconut milk directly to the pan. Using an emersion blender. Blend the ingredients until smooth.
- After blending, place all ingredients back into the pot on the stove, over medium heat. Add carrots, hashbrowns, & beef into the pan. Stir in the nutritional yeast & spices.
- Cover & cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until carrots are to desired consistency. Stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Garnish with bacon bits & green onions.