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. 


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.


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


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


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

Dairy & Eggs:

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


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


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

Potato Leek Soup

Makes eight servings | 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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