We'll take cue from a master, and agree with Julia Child that the traditional leek-and-potato vichyssoise "is the mother of the family in all her simplicity." The vegetables combine to a delicate smooth soup, and, wrote Child, "a bit of cream at the end is a nourishing touch, but by no means necessary." But dear Julia, since when were you one to go easy on the fat?
Created by the chef of New York's Ritz, Louis Diat, the soup made an appearance shortly after the restaurant opened in December 1910. Debatably a Franco-American hybrid, the soup was inspired by the cooking of Diat's mother: "One of my earliest food memories is of my mother's good leek and potato soup," he wrote. Although similar French potage recipes predate the chilled Vichyssoise as we know it, the temperature is what differentiates the refreshing dish.
And what better way to celebrate National Vichyssoise Day than with Louis Diat's original recipe from 1941's "Cooking a la Ritz"? Check it out, after the jump.
Cream Vichyssoise Glacée
- 4 leeks, trimmed
- 1 medium onion
- 2 ounces sweet butter
- 5 medium potatoes
- 1 quart water or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups medium cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
Finely slice the white part of the leeks and the onion and brown very lightly in the sweet butter. then add the potatoes, sliced finely. Add water or broth and salt. Boil 25-40 minutes. Crush and rub through a fine strainer. Return to fire and add the milk and medium cream. Season to taste and bring to a boil. Cool and then push through a fine strainer. When the soup is cold, add the heavy cream. Chill thoroughly before serving. Finely chopped chives may be added for decorative garnish.