Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise is a simple soup prepared from potatoes and leek, and served cold. This is a great starter to a picnic or any summer entertaining, it is easily jazzed up with a few simple additions (see these at the end of the recipe). For ease you can prepare it well in advance and freeze it and simply defrost on the day. I serve the soup with freshly baked herb and rocket focaccia but you can make or buy your favourite bread if you wish.

Wine Recommendation: Recommendation: a dry Sancerre is generally a good match for these soups. See The Mixed Case for details.

Vichyssoise

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients

Vichyssoise

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 mediumto large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 large leeks, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • water or vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig of fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml double cream

To Serve

  • 6 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • Herb Focaccia (see recipe) or a your choice of bread

Method

  1. Vichyssoise: Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the oil over a moderate heat. Add the onions to the melted butter and leave it to sweat for a couple of minutes then stir in the potatoes, leeks, garlic and celery and cook them for a minute. Pour over just enough stock or water to cover the vegetables well. Add the thyme, rosemary, parsley and bay leaves to the pan. Bring the stock or water to a boil then reduce it to a gentle simmer. Skim off any scum that comes to the top and leave the soup to cook gently for 40 minutes adding more water or stock to the pan so that the vegetables are covered. After 40 minutes all the vegetables should be tender.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the thyme, rosemary, parsley and bay leaves from the pan and allow it to cool. Puree the soup until smooth, if you wish it to be extra smooth you may wish to strain it. The soup should be pouring consistency if it is to thick add a little more stock or water to it. Season the soup with a little salt and pepper and stir in the cream until well blended. Refrigerate the soup in a well sealed container until ready to serve.
  3. To Serve: Distribute the soup evenly among six bowls. Place a spoonful of creme fraiche in the centre of each serving and sprinkle over the chives. Serve with wedges of focaccia (see recipe) or your choice of recipes.
  • You can make a spicy version of the soup by adding a table spoon of finely chopped coriander, mint and a de seeded finely chopped red chilli or a little sweet chilli sauce to the soup when ready to serve and garnish it with a coriander and mint leaf instead of chives. Char grilled scallops or prawns in the centre of the soup on the creme fraiche make a great addition especially if you are having a gourmet barbecue.