Like finding out that imported beer in Mexico is Budweiser, there are always those surprised to learn that Vichyssoise and the cold Leek and Potato Soup recipe are the same. Thankfully, Leek and Potato Soup tastes as good as Vichyssoise sounds.
Chilled soup is soooo refreshing on a hot day. By popular demand,
I made this particular cold soup twice in one week during a horrid West
coast heat wave.
3 large leeks
1 large onion
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 pounds white or russet potatoes
6 cups flavorful chicken broth*
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream or sour cream
*For chicken broth I actually use chicken soup base, 6 cups water + 2 to 2-1/2 tablespoons soup base. Bouillon works as well; just follow the package directions. If you're using canned chicken broth, you may need to spruce it up a bit; if your broth is tasteless, your soup will suffer.
Cut the top and bottom from the leeks; use only the white and pale green parts. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse them thoroughly. Leeks are notorious for having dirt hidden in the layers.
Chop the leeks and onion and place them in a large pot. Sauté them in butter until they are very soft, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, scrub and chop the potatoes. Prepare the soup base and add both the broth and the potatoes to the pot. Bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, another 30 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and cool the soup slightly. Stir in white pepper to taste and, if need be, salt.
Puree the cooled mixture in a food processor or blender in batches.
Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight if you can.
Stir in the sour cream or heavy cream just before serving. Adjust
the spices, if necessary. Garnish with chopped chives. Makes about 12
cups, serves 6-8.
Chill the soup bowls or mugs you will be using as well as the soup. This not only keeps the soup cold, but adds an unbeatable sensual element to the meal. In restaurants, Vichyssoise is often served on crushed ice, but at home, a well-chilled bowl does nicely.
And as it happens, a bowl or mug of Vichyssoise with cold sandwiches or Summer Kabobs on the side is a terrific make-ahead meal to serve guests for lunch or a casual dinner. For dessert, consider Dirt Cake. (How often can your friends thank you for suggesting they eat dirt?)
For maximum impression, be prepared to give out your "Vichyssoise
recipe" to your guests, not your "Leek and Potato Soup recipe."