Vichyssoise

I love the name of this soup. Like many French dishes, their names make them sound so much fancier than they really are – in this case, potato and leek soup. Yet, in spite of its simplicity, this really is special and deserving of the impression its French title imparts.

Leek and potato soup when done well is so elegantly tasty that its hard to resist.  Especially if you serve it with a little cream and some chives.  Mmmm…

You’re going to get tired of me saying this, but soup is only as good as the stock its made with.  Use the best quality chicken or vegie stock you can get your hands on, preferably some that you’ve made yourself.

  • 2 small to medium sized leeks
  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced 2 cm thick
  • 2 stalks celery (preferably the paler, centre stalks, with their pale yellow leaves attached – discard leaves when they turn green – thinly sliced/chopped)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 stalks continental parsley
  • 3 stems of fresh thyme
  • 500 ml stock
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon salt (approx)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives (ie fresh chives, cut into tiny rounds with kitchen scissors – “snipped”)
  • Cream to serve

Clean and slice the leeks into thin, 1 cm rounds, discarding the darkest green parts at the top, and the root of course.    It can be tricky to get all the dirt and grit out of leeks, especially the top greener half, so pay special attention to the leek when the folds start to appear and make sure the grit is properly washed out.   If necessary, cut the leek up then dunk the slices in cold water and rinse in a salad spinner. Nothing worse than gritty soup!

Heat some olive oil (about 1/3 cup) in a large pot then add the leeks, sauteeing over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft.  Add the celery and stir.  Tie the parsley, bay leaf and thyme sprigs to form a bouquet garni and add to the pot for a few minutes. Add the stock, water, potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until everything is soft and fragrant.

Remove the bouquet garni and don’t worry if bits of parsley and thyme come off, all the better.  Take a hand held bamix and puree until the soup is smooth and pale green creamy looking.  If you don’t have one of these, do it in batches in a blender or a food processor.  But the bamix is the least fuss, least mess way – trust me!

Serve with some extra salt and pepper if required, a little dollop of cream, some snipped chives and some crusty bread.  Perfection!

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The Simplicity Project ~ Jenn Pike

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