Soup is the ultimate comfort food. Nothing else can send so much rich aroma into the air, and nothing else so effectively makes every house into a home.
“A good soup is the ultimate sign of a fabulous cook. And despite that, soup is the most forgiving thing you’ll ever make, the easiest kind of cooking.” – Ruth Reichl
With that in mind here’s the recipe for our herbed version of Vichyssoise – a cold creamy leek and potato soup. It’s a great summer soup and it never fails to impress our guests.
According to Wikipedia its cold serving temperature is often used for comedy value in entertainment. For example, in the 1992 movie Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne is surprised at its temperature, saying “It’s cold!” to which his butler, Alfred responds that “It’s supposed to be cold.”
Similarly, on an All in the Family episode, Archie Bunker’s neighbour brings over a dish of vichyssoise for dinner. Before tasting it, Archie brings a spoon up towards his mouth, blowing on the soup to cool it, and then remarks as he tastes it, “Boy, this soup is cold, and I hardly blew on it at all!”
Cold dulls our sense of taste, so vichyssoise, require more seasoning than a warm potato-leek soup. Taste the vichyssoise again just before serving and adjust the seasoning as needed.
Also remember that cold soups should have a thinner consistency than hot soups. To achieve this in Vichyssoise we use a higher ratio of liquid to main ingredients.
- 250g leeks, white part only
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped
- 250g potatoes, peeled and diced
- 900ml chicken stock
- 175ml whipping cream
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
- Paprika to garnish.
- Split the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove all sand and grit. Slice thinly.
- Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and add the leeks, celery and parsley. Sweat without browning until they are soft. Stir occasionally. About 15 minutes.
- Add the diced potatoes and chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Puree the soup in batches in a food processor or blender and strain through a sieve.
- Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Blend in ½ the whipping cream.
- Adjust the seasoning.
- Place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
- Serve in well chilled bowls. Softly spoon the remaining cream into the centre of each bowl and garnish lavishly with the chives. Then sprinkle lightly with paprika to add colour.