Traditionally served cold, Vichyssoise is a thick soup made of boiled and puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. Nobody is certain of this classic soup’s origin—though Julia Child called it an “American invention,” historians debate its roots in French cuisine. A similar potato and leek soup recipe was created in 1869 by the French chef Jules Gouffé, but another French chef—Louis Diat, based at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City—is credited with its reinvention. Though it is traditionally served cold, I can also be eaten hot.
The recipe is simple, easy, and timeless.
4 tablespoons butter
2 medium potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
4 fresh chives
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Clean and slice the leeks, discarding the green ends. Cut the potatoes into small cubes and finely chop the leeks.
- Add leeks to the butter and let sweat for five minutes. Stop sweating if they begin to take on color. Add the potato cubes and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken broth to pot, stir, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, cooking on low heat for around 35 minutes—until the leeks and potatoes are very soft. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.
- In small batches (1-2 cups at a time), puree the soup using a high speed in your blender. When finished, return the soup to the cooking pot.
- Whisk in cream and nutmeg, then season soup with salt and pepper to taste. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook an additional five minutes. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more broth.
- Transfer soup to a mixing bowl and chill over an ice bath, stirring occasionally. When the soup is at room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerate to cool.
- Season to taste, top with chives, and serve in chilled bowls.