Vegetarian Vichyssoise - Chilled Leek and Potato Soup
The magic of traditional French cooking is to take humble ingredients and turn them in to something sublime. Vichyssoise – chilled leek and potato soup – is a perfect example. Leeks and potatoes, not among the most glamorous of vegetables, go from simple to spectacular once you purÃ©e them with milk or cream and chill for a couple of hours. (Substitute soy milk for milk and oil for butter to make a vegan version.)
1 tablespoon butter or oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, well rinsed and coarsely chopped
4 cups (1 l) water or light vegetable stock*
3 boiling potatoes, peeled and roughly cubed
2 cups milk, cream or soy milk
salt and pepper to taste
finely chopped chives or scallion greens for garnish
- If using bullion cubes or concentrated vegetable stock, use half the amount specified on the packaging to avoid overpowering the delicate flavor of the leeks.
Heat the oil or butter in a large soup pot over medium high heat.
Reduce heat to medium, add the chopped leeks and sautÃ© until soft – 3 to 5 minutes. (Don’t let the leeks brown.)
Add the cubed potatoes and the water or stock. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are fork tender (15 to 20 minutes).
In a blender, pulse the soup with the milk or soy milk until it reaches the desired consistency. (You can also purÃ©e the soup in a food mill.) Be careful not to over-purÃ©e. This will turn the potatoes gummy.
Taste, season with salt and pepper and pulse once or twice to mix.
Let chill thoroughly – usually at least three to four hours – before serving. Garnish with chives or scallion greens if desired.