Someone else’s family recipe: Ridley Soup Burger |

Someone else’s family recipe: Ridley Soup Burger

Susan Stone
Highland Foodie

Ready or not, here they come. Yes, like it or not, we stand on the brink of the holidays.

With just a few short weeks to recuperate from Halloween candy indulgence, we must make haste to get ourselves in shape for the impending eating season. There’ll be benefits and office parties in addition to the family get-togethers and football parties.

And all this before we get to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

It is best to face these events with a plan. First on your list should be a call to Middle Park Meat Company in Kremmling to place your order for smoked turkey, rib roasts or their famous apple cured pork chops.

Make the call now (970-724-3380). Don’t wait until it’s too late.

I propose making a family recipe between now and the Super Bowl ” a recipe not from your family, but one that will soon earn its place there because it’s insanely easy to prepare. Perfect for a season when food prep can be daunting.

Don’t be a snob just because it has condiments as ingredients; try at least three bites.

At first, you’ll taste the mustard and think there’s been a mistake, but wait. You’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll want to have it again immediately. Practice moderation; only make it once every two weeks or so, not every week.

The recipe made its way here from Maine in the hands of siblings, Brian Ridley and Allison Ridley McWilliams. Their grandmother, Francis Ridley, invented the dish. The two said they’d share it with us as long as we promise to keep it here in Grand County.

The only trick is finding the correct can of Campbell’s soup at the store. You probably have the remaining ingredients at home right now.

Some call this a Sloppy Joe. In fact, upon hearing my lament over not having the Sloppy Joe recipe from my childhood, Brian, my next-door neighbor, came to my rescue with this one, from his childhood, bless his heart.

But no, its no Joe, it’s a Ridley Soup Burger. So good, it made me forget the one from my childhood.

Ridley Soup Burger

Brown 1 lb. ground beef in a skillet

Add: 1 can Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo

2 Tbs. ketchup

2 Tbs. yellow mustard

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve open-faced on grilled buns.

Once you’ve mastered the intricacies of this recipe, you’ll naturally think of adding vegetables to your diet.

My two favorite holiday sides are piquant pearl onions and chipotle mashed sweet potatoes. After years of insisting on fresh pearl onions I realized frozen ones were as fresh and less trouble. Sweet potatoes bored me until I stumbled upon jazzing them up with a little heat.

For the onions, pour a package of frozen pearl onions in a small oval baking dish. Add butter, soy and balsamic in equal amounts ” 2 Tbs. each. Bake until bubbling at 375 degrees. Stir and serve.

Bake or microwave five large sweet potatoes in their skins (washed and scrubbed). Scoop out the pulp into a large bowl, mash them, add a tablespoon of butter and beginning with a teaspoon of Bufalo brand chipotle sauce, add as much as you like; salt to taste, stir and serve.

Just in time for the holidays, there’s a new way to make piecrust from scratch! I realize I’ve just lost 80 percent of you, so this is for the 20 percent who make their own. There are two parts to this: one is an old technique touted as new and the other is a new ingredient.

The technique dates back to 1939 as outlined in the classic tome Pie Marches On, in which “Pie King” Monroe Boston Strause recommends mixing all the fat component (butter and/or shortening or lard) with half the flour called for in your recipe; mixing it until it is completely blended together, forgetting the admonition to stop when “pea-sized clumps form.” Then loosely mixing in the remaining flour.

The second part is based in chemistry. Half the recipe’s water is replaced with vodka. The vodka allows for the addition of more moisture without gluten development (which makes crusts tough.) I’m giving this a try, if for no other reason than it sounds like fun.

Thanks for missing me during my two-month hiatus.

Contact me with questions, suggestion and recipe ideas at (970) 531-1952 or

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