Sunday Night Soups: John Elway’s Hamburger Soup Recipe

Sunday Night Soups: John Elway\u2019s Hamburger Soup Recipe

Sunday Night Soups, where each week The Gurgling Cod shows up to offer a soup appropriate to the week’s Sunday Night Football game on NBC.

This Sunday night, the Steelers venture into the mountains of Colorado to face the Denver Broncos. Soupwise, this match up is a bit of a poser. I can’t think of a particular food I associate with Pittsburgh the way, say, even Cincinnati has some sort of chili and spaghetti thing they do. And Denver’s culinary fame rests on an omelet popular with dyspeptic truckers. But once again, the NFL Family Cookbook rides to the rescue. This volume, from 1997, is a must have for any football fan who cooks — there is no other tome that gathers the secrets of Archie Manning’s shrimp appetizer, Hardy Nickerson’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Dave Wannstedt’s beef flautas, and even Steve Largent’s Saturday morning waffles in one convenient place.

Granted, the folks the NFL would choose to coordinate a cookbook are more likely to be informed by the Taste of Home aesthetic than to smuggle Junior Seau and Morten Andersen off to Spain to apprentice with Ferran Adrià, but it is still remarkable how dated the recipes feel in a book that’s only ten years old.

Former Bronco luminary John Elway comes through with a soup every bit as colorful as the man himself. Despite his Bay Area collegiate roots, it’s interesting to see how even in 1995, Elway was unafraid to buck the fresh-and-local Panissians, and drop a soup recipe that will give your can opener a workout.*


  • 2-3 lb lean hamburger
  • 1-2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 qt beef broth
  • 2 ten-ounce cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles (Ro-tel is a good move here)
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced potatoes, skin on
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 15 oz can French-style green beans
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tbs parsley, minced
  • ½ tsp basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. 1.

    Brown and crumble the hamburger meat.

  2. 2.

    Saute onions and garlic in soup pot.

  3. 3.

    Add all the other stuff, and simmer until tender, ca. 30-40 minutes.

  4. 4.

    Elway suggests serving this with warm bread.

  5. 5.

    * As a backup plan, if you cannot find the ingredients needed to pull off this concoction, you might try this Smoked corn soup instead.