'What sort of soup are you making this afternoon, mum?' my grown up son asked. 'Leek and potato,' I responded. 'Oh yum, you make a really good one of those,' he exclaimed, making me smile. I could almost hear him smacking his lips together over the mouthpiece.
Indeed, vichyssoise or leek and potato soup has been on my repertoire for many decades. It was a favourite with my children when they were little, and my husband at the time liked it very much too. Bless him.
According to Larousse, the world's great cookery encyclopedia, 'vichyssoise is a leek and potato soup thickened with fresh cream and served cold garnished with chopped chives. It is also the name given to any cold soup based on potatoes and another vegetable, such as courgettes (zucchini). Vichyssoise was created in the United States by Louis Diat, a French chef who named the soup after his local town. As a child, he ate the soup for breakfast when he lived in a village near Vichy in France.'
Curiously, Peter cannot stand leeks and it doesn't matter what dish I make with them, he always shakes his head with a resounding 'no'. Come to think of it, he does not like chives either. And yet he enjoys onions and garlic. Go figure, I know.
Given this, there is NO way my man would enjoy cold vichyssoise topped with chopped chives. Nope, non, neh, nem, nil, nai, não, niet! Whereas, I happen to be quite fond of leeks, as you'll learn in my Good Things article from July 2014 here... and I LOVE LOVE LOVE my leek and potato soup or vichyssoise, especially when it's garnished with shavings of fresh truffle. ❤
LEEK AND POTATO SOUP WITH TRUFFLE
60g unsalted butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 small fresh bay leaf
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon per serve crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
freshly ground white pepper, to season
smoked sea salt, to season
black truffle, to garnish
crusty bread, to serve
Soak the leeks upside down in a sink full of cold water to flush out any dirt that may be trapped between the leaves. Then slice them thinly, using only the white stem and pale green areas. Peel and chop the potatoes.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan, add the leeks and stir until soft and golden. Add the potatoes and the little bay leaf, stir for 1-2 minutes, then pour in the stock, lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
With a stick blender or (transfer to) a food processor, puree the soup until it is a smooth consistency. Return it to the pan and reheat gently. Add a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and season with freshly ground pepper and ground smoked sea salt. Serve garnished with a generous shaving of fresh truffle. Serves 4-6.
Note: When purchasing leeks select those with bright green leaves and large, firm white bulbs.
Tell me dear readers and fellow cooks, do you like leeks and is vichyssoise on your repertoire? And have you tried serving it with truffle?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.