Vichyssoise

vichy
When the temperature rises, my desire for hot food falls. Gazpacho is the usual go-to cold soup for Californians, but I’m a fan of ice-cold vichyssoise (cold potato-leek soup for those not “in-the-know”). My mom served this at summer dinner parties when I was small, and I remember eating it out of an icer, which is a glass filled with crushed ice with an insert for the soup designed to keep it well-chilled. Yes, most kids were eating mac and cheese, but at the age of ten I fancied myself a sophisticated bon-vivant. Icers are hard to come by these days unless you shop at a Bertie Wooster’s garage sale. As a back-up use well-chilled glasses, bowls, or tea cups.

This soup is properly pronounced vee-she-swahz. Don’t get caught dropping the ‘z’ sound, unless you want to be shunned by Frenchies. It is named for the French spa town of Vichy, although it is supposedly an American creation. C’est la vie!

INGREDIENTS

2 TB. butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 leeks, sliced
4 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
2 cups heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste

METHOD

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat sauté onions, leeks and potatoes until tender, but not browned. Cover with stock and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Allow soup to cool for 15-20 minutes, then puree. Return to the heat, add cream, salt and pepper, and simmer another 5 minutes. Cool, then chill completely before serving.

Garnish with chopped chives or watercress. Serves 4.

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