Classic Vichyssoise Soup

by Emily Kemme
vichyssoise soup

Classic Vichyssoise soup is one of those French soups you either love, or love to hate. There are three reasons for that.

❉ This delectable soup is created from potatoes, alliums (they are cousins of the onion), and cold cream. Don’t eat it if you love to hate leeks and green onions — which incidentally are superfoods thanks to their vitamin, flavonoid, and sulfur loads, providing anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. If you are following a low-carbohydrate diet or have lactose intolerance, another creamy soup might be preferable.

❉ If soup is filed in your database under the heading “hot foods,” check this variation off the list.

❉ Does speaking in another language when talking about food stick in your craw? It’s best to skip the vichyssoise and order beef stew. Unfortunately, you will also miss out on ordering consommé, minestrone, and bouillabaisse.

But, if you’ve run the gauntlet and are still hanging in with me, Vichyssoise Soup (vi-she-swaaaaz) is full of vegetables. It’s a naturally healthy food if eaten in small doses. Prepare it as a vegetarian version with vegetable stock or water. Perfect served as a light lunch or as an appetizer course in small glasses, Vichyssoise — or chilled potato cream soup — as soup goes, it’s pretty sexy, too.

Incidentally, here’s an interesting fact: the chef who created it was French, but he was living in the United States at the time. According to the go-to cooking reference book, Larousse Gastronomique, the soup was named after Chef Louis Diat’s hometown (Vichy). He enjoyed the cold soup for breakfast on hot summer days.

Garnish vichyssoise with chopped chives (another allium), or you can drizzle the soup with a quick-to-prepare chive oil.

Classic Vichyssoise Soup Recipe

1 stick unsalted butter

4 leeks, trimmed of tops and white and light green parts only

4 scallions (green onions), tops trimmed, thinly sliced

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces

8 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if preferred)

1 cup half and half

1 cup 2 % percent milk

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Rinse leeks well to remove residual dirt. Slice thinly.

Melt butter in large pot, about 8 quart size. Sauté leeks and green onion over medium low heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and continue sautéing for 3 minutes.

Pour stock into pot and stir to combine ingredients. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil, and reduce heat so mixture is simmering, covered, for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Let cool, then purée until soup is creamy. Pour soup into large bowl. Chill for at least one hour.

Before serving, stir in chilled half and half and milk.

Serve in soup bowls for a meal, or ladle into individual appetizer glasses. Garnish with chive oil.

Chive Oil:

1/2 cup grape seed oil

1 bunch fresh chives

Arrange square of cheesecloth or paper coffee filter in fine mesh sieve over small heat-resistant bowl.

Purée chives and oil in small countertop blender. Pour into small saucepan and heat on medium, about three minutes. Mixture should bubble at the edges. Carefully pour hot mixture into sieve without pressing on solids. Let cool. Transfer to glass storage container and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before drizzling.

Whether served as a light lunch or as an appetizer course in small glasses, Vichyssoise — or chilled potato cream soup — is loaded with superfood vegetables. As soup goes, it’s pretty sexy, too.

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