Leek and Potato Soup / Vichyssoise

Leek and Potato Soup / Vichyssoise

This soup can be served hot or chilled. There is a lot of history surrounding the name of the soup, its origin and the temperature at which it must be eaten.
Hot, this soup is called “Leek and Potato soup” and is thought to be French. Cold, the soup becomes a “Vichyssoise” and some historians consider it an american dish as it was served for the first time in 1917, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York, by Louis Diat, a chef from Vichy.
In a interview with the New Yorker magazine in 1950, Chef Diat said: “In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.”

Hot or cold, it’s a delicious dish! Depending on your geo-localization: I hope you enjoy this wonderful soup to warm you up, or to cool you down… :))
Bon appétit!

Leek and Potato Soup / Vichyssoise

Adapted from The Food of France, a journey for food lovers.
Serves 6

50 g (1 ¾ oz) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, white parts only, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
200 g (7 oz) potatoes, chopped
750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
185 ml (¾ cup) cream
White Pepper

Garnish Ingredients
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Raw Pepitas, Feta Cheese (cubed) and Pink Peppercorn

You will need a large saucepan and an immersion blender (or a food processor).
Scale and cut all the ingredients.

Leeks can be annoying to clean… here is the method I use: trim and discard the end (roots) of the leeks. Cut the leek as needed for the recipe, then put the chopped pieces in a bowl of tap water. Wait for 5 minutes. Remove the pieces and change the water in the bowl,… repeat this a few times, until the water stays clean and no dirt deposit is visible in the bottom of the bowl.

Melt the butter in the saucepan. Add the onion, leek, celery and garlic. Make sure to mix everything, so it is nicely coated with the melted butter. Cover the pan, and let it cook over low heat for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft, but not brown. Stir occasionally.
Add the potato and stock.
Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Stir well, lower the heat again, cover and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Allow the soup to cool a little bit before immersing the blender or pureeing it in a food processor.
I personally use an immersion blender, it is easier to clean than a food processor! :)
If you’re using a food processor, return the pureed soup to the sauce pan…
Slowly bring back the soup to a boiling stage, and stir in the cream. Season with salt and white pepper. When you add the cream, the soup temperature is going to drop down (the cream was in the fridge!)… reheat again, without boiling.
Serve hot or chilled.
Garnish with chives or have fun with raw pepitas, Feta cheese and pink peppercorn!