Soup À La Carte

Why not? When buying a new car you can build a custom auto to your liking. Otherwise we’d all be driving black cars. So why not create a recipe that allows you to build your own soup. You can then tweak the recipe to play casual or more formal, depending on the occasion.

With a chill in the air, use my Potato and Leek Soup recipe as the base of your soup à la carte; it allows for so much creativity, on your part. Basically, this recipe is a blank canvas for you to adapt the addition of most winter vegetables, meats, seafood, and legumes. 

Tips:

Use approximately 1 cup of any vegetable, meat, seafood or legume. 

Cut up any additions into small or maximum one-half to one inch pieces. Why so small? Simply, so it fits on a soup spoon. 

Adjust flavor by grilling a piece of salmon vs. poaching. For a delicate flavor poach the meat or seafood in the soup itself. For a more robust flavor pre grill if you crave a little smoke taste. 

Change presentations by serving a larger piece of fish or meat in a soup plate and use a half-cup of the base Potato Leek Soup as a sauce garnish; served around the fish or meat. In a more formal setting, include a knife and fork for guests ease.

Vegetables:

corn, cabbage, escarole, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, yams, etc.

Meats:

chicken, pulled pork, smoked ham, cooked pancetta, cooked bacon, etc.

Seafood:

cod, shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, salmon, oysters, etc.

Dairy & Eggs:

poached egg, Gruyere cheese, parmesan, sour cream, yogurt, non-fat half & half, etc. 

Legumes:

black, chick peas cannellini, navy, red beans, etc.

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A simple staple like a potato can make for a very hearty and satisfying soup.

Potato Leek Soup

Makes eight servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Living it UP! cookbook

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

1 leek, whites only, washed and chopped fine

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

3 cups Yukon Gold Potatoes, *scrubbed & medium diced

3 cups chicken broth

6 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Pre heat a medium size soup pot. Add olive oil, butter, onion, leek and garlic. Cook two minutes until onions are translucent.  Add nutmeg, chicken broth and 2 tablespoons of chives.  Bring soup to boil, then lower to simmer cooking for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Puree half of soup mixture, leaving remaining chunky bits of potatoes. Ladle soup into bowls, top each serving with a drizzle of cream, cheddar cheese and remaining fresh chives.

*Good to Know: Wash potatoes and leave skins on to preserve the nutrients in the flesh of the potato. A great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, and dietary fiber. 

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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Blue Food

With just 80 delicious calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer us many important nutritional health benefits. 

Blueberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber, and possess antioxidant properties as well. These important antioxidants help neutralize free radicals can prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's. 

Blueberries are also high in Vitamin C. In fact, a serving contains about 14 mg or almost 25% of daily requirement for Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for the formation of collagen and to maintain healthy gums and capillaries. It also aids in the absorption of iron and promotes a healthy immune system.

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There are many ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet with a healthy breakfast including a parfait of blueberries, yogurt and granola.

Blueberries are also an excellent way to add sweet and tart flavor to pork, poultry or fish with sauces, salsas and chutneys. Simply simmer blueberries with balsamic vinegar, sweet onion, garlic and peppers. 

Create desserts with blueberry toppings with cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and mint. Garnish desserts topping off with fresh blueberries like a Creamy Rice Pudding from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series.  

And a few fun facts:

The blueberry is the official state fruit of New Jersey.

There are only three fruits native to North America; blueberries, cranberries and Concord grapes.

The blueberry muffin is the most popular muffin in the U.S.

George's Gameday One Love Wings

There is nothing better for a cookout than my One Love Wings. Period!

At one of this country’s most celebrated celebrity chefs events, patient guests stood in line for hours to sample my winning recipe. My culinary Team was stellar staying in the game preparing hundreds of pounds of what was the most talked about dish that evening. Amazing, how a few well prepared wings with good seasoning, grilled and tossed in made from scratch sauce wins every time!

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George Hirsch's Caribbean style grilled chicken wings; tangy fresh lime juice sugar cane glaze and a bit of heat, chillin’ with a savory slaw.

George’s One-Love Wings

Makes 32 pieces 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | From Grilling with Chef George Hirsch Cookbook

16 chicken wings

1/4 cup olive  

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, oregano, paprika, granulated powered garlic 

pinch ground nutmeg and allspice

fresh ground black pepper, and sea salt

Cut off and discard wings tips. Cut remaining wings in half. 

Season with thyme, oregano, paprika, powered garlic, black pepper and sea salt. Add olive oil, hot sauce, and toss. Cover and place in refrigerator 1 hour.

Preheat grill to medium temperature.  

Place wings on grill. Grill 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, turning frequently. As wings begin to brown continue slowly cooking on indirect heat, until completely cooked. 

When fully cooked and crispy, toss wings in George’s One Love Sauce.

George’s One Love Sauce

6 cloves Caramelized garlic, puree with knife

2 teaspoons soy sauce1 Tablespoon cane syrup or dark corn syrup 

1/4 cup fresh lime juice1/4 cup honey

2 Tablespoons ketchup 

1 green onion chopped

2 Tablespoons Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients well. 

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Bistro Night

What could be better on a cold Winter's night than a bistro themed spread: a French onion soup, quiche, and maybe tart tartin.

And, what would a French onion soup be without a toasted crouton, aka a sop? Sops are used for soaking up a warm liquid, broth or wine, and was the term used in days of yore. I guess it was only natural that the word soup derived from sop. 

In my Five Onion Soup, the mixture of five onions gives a nice character to the soup. But, no sweat if you have less than five, just use a sweet onion and you'll have a tasty version. The so called bar of success in making an onion soup is all the slow cooking and gradual 'caramelizing' of the onions. The natural sweetness from the onions adds the rich robust flavor and golden brown color, the prize in this soup. 

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CREAMY FIVE ONION SOUP

Makes 6-8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | From George Hirsch Living it UP! TV series

This easy to prepare hearty soup for a cool night makes for a wonderful dinner or rustic appetizer. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil 

2 each sweet onions*, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, chopped 

6 each Chipolini onions, chopped 

1 each red onion, chopped 

1 green onion, chopped 

1 Tablespoon flour 

1/2 cup tomato sauce 

2 teaspoons dried thyme 

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup white wine

1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

2 cups chicken broth 

2 cups beef broth 

Optional:

1/2 cup half and half

French bread croutons

Parmesan, Emmental, or Gruyere cheese

Pre heat a large soup or saucepot to a medium heat. Add olive oil, sweet onions, garlic, chipolini onions, red onion and green onion. Cook for 10 minutes without stirring until you begin to see the onions in the bottom of the pot begin to brown, Stir, and allow the onions to continue to further brown. Stir and allow onions to cook for an additional five minutes. Total cooking time of onions will be about 20 minutes or more.

Season with thyme, bay leaves, pepper, add tomato sauce, flour and stir. Add white wine and cook for 5 minutes or until dry. Add chicken broth, beef broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Remove bay leaves then, puree one half of soup in blender or food processor.

Return pureed soup back to soup pot. Bring soup back to a boil; reduce temperature down to a simmer. Add optional half and half. Serve with a toasted French bread crouton, top with grated Parmesan and melt Emmental or Gruyere cheese. 

*Note on onions: Soup may be made with any type sweet onions and garlic only. Or, you may use addition of any onion family such as leeks, chives, etc. 

For My Quiche Lorraine Recipe

For My Tarte Tatin

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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