The first time I heard of vichyssoise was in 1992. I was 7 years old and watching “Batman Returns” (which I saw in theatres, which I now realize was probably totally inappropriate for my age). Bruce Wayne is sitting in the Batcave poring over information regarding The Penguin when Alfred brings him some supper. Upon eating a spoonful of soup he chokes, “Alfred, it’s cold!” Alfred gives him a dead stare. “It’s a vichyssoise, sir. It’s supposed to be cold.”
At the time I thought Alfred had said fishyssoise and the soup was a cold fish soup (blech!). It wasn’t until many years later I learned it was just cold potato-leek soup pureed into perfect smoothness. And now that knowledge has come in handy.
I’m getting the rest of my very impacted wisdom teeth removed tomorrow morning and this time it’s on both sides of my mouth and thus a liquid diet is on the horizon for a couple of days. My fridge is stocked with yogurt and the freezer has a pint of Häagen-Dazs, but I wanted one more thing to be able to gum down during my convalescence, so another pureed soup seemed smart. This recipe comes together very easily, has a lot of unattended cooking time, and if you use an immersion blender, is a one-pot-wonder. It’s unbelievably delicious and if you have some equally delicious bread to dip into it while you still can chew, I highly recommend it.
Based on the recipe by Alton Brown.
Makes about 6 servings.
- 1 pound leeks, dark green section and roots removed
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 14 ounces small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup nonfat half-and-half
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ tsp. ground white pepper
- 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley or chives
1.) Fill a very large bowl with cold water. Chop the leeks into small pieces, toss into the bowl, and swish around so the sand loosens and sinks to the bottom. Scoop the leeks out with a mesh strainer (don’t just strain them into the collander – the sand will just come with them).
2.) In a 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
4.) Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the milk, buttermilk, white pepper, and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Chill overnight and serve sprinkled with more parsley and plenty of vicodin.