Vichyssoise (Potato and Leek Soup) – Julia Child
Julia Child’s Vichyssoise recipe; A creamy potato soup, flavored with leeks and white pepper. Garnish with a sprinkling of chives. Traditionally serve chilled.
I love potatoes. I’m sure you already knew that. I couldn’t live in a world where they didn’t exist. It would be pure torture. Kind of like removing bacon and cheese. Only a monster would do that. A monster! Don’t ever take away those incredible comfort foods. I love them dearly.
Until now, I’d never had a potato soup. I’ve had potatoes in soup, but never had a potato soup. Get it? They were always a complimentary addition, but never the main focus of the dish. I always meant to make a loaded potato soup but never got around to it. I see that popping up in my future though, especially after making this. The difference, it’ll be piping hot.
This particular soup is a potato and leek based soup, seasoned ever so perfectly with salt and white pepper… yes, white pepper. You could certainly use black pepper and have specks throughout your soup if you don’t mind. I’m sure the flavor is slightly different too but not worlds different, so it’s okay… use black pepper if you want.
The strangest thing for me wasn’t the process, though I’d never strained a soup through a fine mesh sieve before in my life. It does give an amazingly smooth finished product though. Nope… the strangest thing was the temperature. This soup is served cold. To me, soup is meant to be hot. Soup reminds me of chilly days. It’s a comforting dish in my eyes. Not saying this couldn’t be comforting, just not in it’s chilled state. Apparently this can be served hot but is traditionally served chilled… so sticking with tradition, that’s what I did. I tasted it both warm and chilled and much preferred it warm.
It’s smooth and flavorful with just the right amount of seasoning. Nothing extra is needed. Though to be perfectly honest, I did wish there were crisp buttery croutons seasoned with garlic and maybe a touch of cheese. That would have been the perfect addition. Next time.
I reduced the quantities and adjusted the amounts just slightly, giving a perfect balance of flavor.
Yield: Serves 2-3
Vichyssoise (Potato and Leek Soup)
1 1/2C yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into small chunks
1C leek, rinsed and sliced 1/8" thick
3C chicken stock
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4C heavy cream
1 tbsp chives, minced
Prepare potatoes by peeling and slicing into small chunks. Add to a medium saucepan.
Chop off the dark green portion of your leek. Slice the white root end down the length of the leek, almost all of the way through. Hold the leek root end up under cool water allowing the water to flow between each section rinsing away any dirt. Gently shake dry. Cut into 1/8" thick pieces. Add to saucepan.
Cover potatoes and leek with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add salt. Reduce temperature to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat. Stir in cream.
Pour into a large blender, in batches if necessary. Blend until smooth.
Pour through a mesh strainer, into a large bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to help push the soup through the sieve. Season with pepper. Enjoy immediately or cover and transfer to the refrigerator until ready to serve chilled. Sprinkle with minced chives before serving.
Slightly adapted from: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child