July 12, 2007


A few weeks back we had some friends over and I served Vichyssoise, Wild Rice Salad with Dried Sour Cherries, Green Bean and Radish Salad, and an array of sausages (chicken and apple, Polish, spinach and feta, and Italian). For dessert we had biscuits with sweetened strawberries and cream.

The recipes for everything except the sausages and dessert were out of various Saveur magazines. The Vichyssoise is from the June/July 2006 issue.

4 tbsp. butter
4 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 medium white boiling potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups milk
2 cups light cream
1 cut heavy cream
2 tbsp. finely chopped chives

1. Heat butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. Add potatoes, 4 cups water, and salt to taste and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft, 50-60 minutes.

2. Strain soup through a mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing and scraping the solids with a spoon. Clean pot and return soup to it. Whisk in milk and light cream, bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from heat and let cool. Strain soup through a fine-mesh sieve (finer than the first), pressing and scraping it into a bowl with the spoon, leaving behind a thick paste of solids. Discard solids. Stir heavy cream into soup, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled. Season soup with salt to taste.

3. Divide soup between 8 soup bowls and garnish with chives. Serve cold.

Meg's Final Thoughts

Although this soup sounds very fancy, I found it not nearly as satisfying as a basic bowl of potato/leek soup. I think the outrageous amounts of cream were supposed to make this uber yummy, but I found that the cream also seemed to drown out the flavor of the potatoes and leeks. I also only sieved it once and I decided afterwards that that was one time too many. Soup should have substance, even if it's been bisqued. At some point I'll have to try making a Megyssoise version - no sieving, less cream, more flavor.


  1. yup. as the saveur article explains, Vichyssoise was invented in New York City to celebrate the 1917 opening of the roof garden of the city's original Ritz-Carlton Hotel. It was invented by Loius Diat, who was French-born. He named the soup after the city of Vichy, which is where he grew up. But apparently in French "Vichy" usually "connotes a dish made with carrots."

  2. I love those kind of soups (clam chowder is one of my favourite though)

  3. Huh, I never knew that. I had always thought vichyssoise was pure French.

  4. I've never made vichyssoise before, so I'm not clear on one or two steps. You add 4 cups of water (not listed as an ingredient) and use it to dilute the cream at the end of recipe? And when you strain the first time you press the solids through but not the second time? I'm not sure what that would accomplish, especially given that the potatoes were already boiled for an hour and have pretty much given up any starch and flavor they had by that point.

    I'm interested in your future Barefootyssoise, though...

  5. the 4 cups of water is to boil the potatoes and leeks in initially. by the time they're done boiling, everything's rather mushy and the potatoes, leeks and water start to become one big mush, which is what you sieve. the cream is later added to this mush (after it's been sieved). so it would be more accurate to say that the cream thickens the water rather than that the water dilutes the cream. although by the time you add the cream to the water mixture, they're both about the same consistency so nothing's really getting diluted consistency-wise. it's the sieving that messed up the consistency (imo).

    i might have used too little of a sieve (i used a strainer that's essentially a mesh bowl) and i ended up with lots of solids the first time. so i didn't bother straining the stuff the second time because it didn't seem like there was any point.

  6. this is why you should subscribe to saveur. ;-)

  7. What, at the point, is being extracted? If the potatoes have pretty much disintegrated, are you taking out the onions?

  8. Good suggestion. My only magazine input has been "Linux Magazine" and "Fangoria". I should put food reading into the mix as well...

  9. potato peels, any potato that didn't break down all the way, and any fibrous parts of the leeks or onion that remain.


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