Friday, January 4, 2008


When it comes to making soups, there can be nothing simpler than Vichyssoise which could also be called a Leek and Potato Soup. It's traditional French fair, smooth and a delight to eat. The use of leeks is also nice because they're just like a milder onion. All the deliciousness but none of the strong smelly taste.

What's also nice about puréed soups is that it really doesn't take any fancy cutting or special presentation. Just simmer, stick the hand blender in there, serve and enjoy. If you don't have a hand blender you should really invest in one. The alternative is transferring everything back and forth between the pot and the blender. And plus you get to buy kitchen toys. Fun times!

Leek and Potato Soup
from "A little taste of France", Murdoch Books

50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 leeks, white part only, sliced
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
200g potatoes, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup cream (10% is not too heavy and not too light)
2 tbsp chopped chives, optional

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, leeks, celery and garlic. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to the boil.

2. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Allow to cool a little before puréeing with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor. (You could also go super old school and push the soup through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.) Return to the clean saucepan.

3. Bring the soup gently back to the boil and stir in the cream. Season with salt and white pepper and reheat without boiling. Serve hot or well chilled, garnished with chives. Another option is to serve the hot soup and have people pour in the amount of cream that they want. This cools down the soup a bit, allows everyone to add cream to taste and also helps when reheating because you easily avoid curdling the cream.

This soup is definitely a 4.8 on 5 in our book.

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