Monday, September 28, 2009

All Souped Up

I've been doing a pretty good job of using all of the random fruits and veggies that my farm share throws at me each week, but between braising beet greens and chopping up kohlrabi salad, I have let a few of the veggies with a longer shelf-life slip through the cracks. Which is how I ended up with a boatload of leeks and potatoes taking up space in my fridge and pantry. And, like I always say, when life gives you leeks and potatoes, make vichyssoise. Vichyssoise is a creamy cold potato-leek soup, that, despite it's Frenchy name, was invented at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City, in 1917. My first experience with it was when I was a little kid at my grandmother's country club, where they had special bowls that held ice under the soup to keep it cool, which, at the time, I thought of as the height of sophistication, and still do. With one taste I became a total devotee. Vichyssoise has that old-fashioned only-found-on-grandmothers'-country-club-menus vibe these days, but I think it's a taste that is fresh, delicious, and timeless. And this recipe, borrowed from Julia Child, is actually really easy and quick to make. (And it's just as good hot as is it cold, if that's your thing. But, if you opt for hot, it's not vichyssoise, it's just plain old potato-leek soup). Pull some of this soup out of the fridge, whip up a club sandwich or a shrimp cocktail, and give your Gram a jingle. Just don't outbid me for those vichyssoise ice bowls on eBay.

What You Need:
4 cups sliced leeks, white and light-green part only (don't use the dark-green leaves)
4 cups diced potatoes
6 to 7 cups water or chicken broth (I use 3 1/2 of each)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1/2 cup cream
1 Tablespoon fresh chives or parsley, minced

What You Do:

1. Bring the leeks, potatoes and water to the boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
2. Purée the soup in the pot using a hand blender, or in batches in a stand blender. Add the cream. Taste, and correct seasoning.
3. Eat hot, or place in fridge to chill. After chilling, you may wish to stir in a little more cream. Taste carefully again, and correct the seasoning. Top each serving with a sprinkle of group pepper and chives or parsley or both! Yum!


Anonymous said...


Lily said...

No, Anonymous Stalker. The Country Club of Detroit. But nice guess!