Chilled Leek and Potato Soup
- Servings: Makes 6 to 8 servings, or about 2 1/2 quarts.
Served chilled, Vichyssoise's beautiful pale, white color is made even more appealing with a sprinkle of snipped fresh chives which add a slight scent of onion to the surface of its delicate flavor. This basic recipe can be adjusted to taste the way you like it. For instance, if you want a creamier soup you can cook the leeks and potatoes in half the water or stock and then add another cup of cream. If you prefer it to be lighter, use low fat sour cream in place of the full calorie stuff.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced leeks, white part only -- about 2 leeks
- 1/2 cup onion, minced (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 4 cups peeled, diced baking potatoes
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 6 cups water or good boxed chicken stock
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (adjust depending on the amount of salt in the stock)
- 1/2 to 1 cup sour cream, heavy cream or half and half (chilled)
- 1/4 cup fresh chives
- Optional: Tabasco
- In a large sauce pan or soup pot, heat the butter or olive oil over moderate heat and add the leeks, minced onion, and sliced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes or until soft but not browned.
- Add the diced potatoes and chicken stock and 1 teaspoon salt (you can add more later to taste). Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, partially cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the leeks, onion, potatoes and pieces of garlic are very tender and falling apart.
- In a food processor or blender, purée the soup until everything is completely combined.
- Transfer to a bowl or other large container and let come to room temperature.
- Whisk in the sour cream, heavy cream or half and half. Taste and if you want it to be creamier, add more sour cream or cream. Adjust for salt.
- If you wish to add pepper, instead use a few drops of Tabasco so not to disturb the soup's pale white color.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Finish by snipping some fresh chives into each serving or drizzling a little chive oil to float on top.
Tip: The easiest way to snip chives is with a pair of scissors. Just make sure that any kitchen scissors are completely clean before you use them with food.
Tip: Leeks are grown in sandy soil and are tricky to clean. When cooking with leeks, clean them very carefully by slicing through each stalk and rinsing several times in cool water. Otherwise you'll have a sandy and gritty soup.
Tip: Part of the appeal of this soup is its pale white color. If you use a Yukon gold potato the soup will have a yellow tint and if you use the green part of the leek, it will be green. So only use the white part of the leek and white baking potatoes.
Tip: Be careful when putting hot ingredients into a food processor or blender because the liquid will rise up when the blades begin to turn. Prevent overflows and burns by not filling the container to the top. If need be, do in batches.