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Classic Vichyssoise

Cool, smooth, and rich, this chilled soup was invented by a French chef, Louis Diat, in New York in 1917 to celebrate the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He made it simply with leeks, onion, potatoes, cream, and rich chicken stock, and he named it after the city of Vichy, France, where he grew up. Garnished lavishly with snipped fresh chives, this elegant and satisfying soup makes the perfect lunch with a slice of French bread and a simple salad--or serve it as a first course for a special dinner.

Ingredients

Serves
4-6
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, cut in small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in small dice
  • 3 medium white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 ounces Fond de Poulet Gold® dissolved in 4 cups hot water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Methods/steps

  1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks, onion, and celery and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are very tender, but not browned, 10-15 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and the diluted Fond de Poulet Gold®, stirring to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cover partially and cook about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Purée the soup in batches in an electric blender, then return it to the pot over low heat and whisk in the cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (remember to season generously since the soup will be served cold, which dulls the flavors a bit).  Transfer the soup to a container with a cover and chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Serve garnished with chopped chives.

Additional Tips

Chef Diat would have puréed his vichyssoise by pressing it twice through a fine-mesh sieve.  A blender is the best tool to use today because it creates a smoother texture than puréeing in a food processor.

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Classic French Stocks and Sauces