Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Vichyssoise - Cool Leek & Potato Soup and The Arrival of Fall

Most mornings I get up and walk the dog. We live in a fairly wooded area, so quite often we meet up with the local wildlife. We've run into ornery woodchuck, hissing possum and anti-social skunks. Of course we've also seen Mallards with their ducklings and mother deer guarding wobbly legged fawns. We also get to watch the slow march of the seasons.

Today was a chilly morning, maybe 40 degrees. The saving graces were the riotous colors that accompanied the rising sun and the mist hugging the low lying ground. In Summer it takes me forever to get out of bed and get started, it seems that Fall does the same to Mother Nature. Days start cold and never quite get up to full heat. It's as though the Earth doesn't want to get out of bed and shake off the mist. Morning dew, Nature's top sheet.

Autumn starts me thinking about root vegetables and roasts. But I can't quite give up the ghost of summer. So today I present a "cool" soup, Vichyssoise. Leek & Potato Soup is rich but refreshing; it's a great first course or, served with a small salad, a nice lunch. Normally this soup is served cold in chilled bowls. But, much like a Fall afternoon, I prefer it closer to room temperature.

There are thousands of Vichyssoise recipes out there, but none better than Julia Child's. I like using heavy cream and keeping a tiny bit of the green parts of the leeks, they add color and a little bite. If you're in a hurry, skip running the soup through a sieve, the end result will be a bit thicker but just as satisfying. Enjoy.

Vichyssoise, Cool Leek & Potato Soup
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Child, Bertholle & Beck

3 cups peeled, sliced potatoes
3 cups sliced white of leek (or leave a little green for an intriguing green tint)
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1/2 to 1 cup whipping cream
Salt & White Pepper

2 - 3 TBSP minced Chives

Simmer the potatoes and leeks in the stock. Puree the soup using a stick blender or food processor. Pass through a fine sieve.

Stir in the cream. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste, (Oversalt slightly as salt loses its savor in a cold dish). Chill.

Thirty minutes prior to serving, remove soup from refrigerator. Serve soup in slightly chilled bowls, garnishing with the chopped chives.

How easy was that? Now some of you are going to complain about the whipping cream. Fine! You could try it with whole milk, but anything "lower " than that and you're on your own. But come on; how many times are you going to make this soup? Why not go for the whole enchilada the first time and then decide if you want to cut back in the future.

Alright, I'm outta here. Don't know what I'll post next time, but remember, you can do it, you can cook.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I so agree, this time of seasonal change is two fold, especially at the porspect of leaving summer behind - what a delicious solution you have found.

WineWizardBob said...

And a hot-out-of-the-toaster slab of crusty French bread bathed in butter and a flute of brut bubbly makes this meal complete.

ZAJA Natural said...

Beets have never looked so good!