Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Boreegard's Vichyssoise

WCA member Mike O'Neil aka Boreegard sent me this recently. I thought I would pass it on so you all can enjoy it!


This chilled, smooth, potato and leek soup is a delicious way to counter the summer heat.  It was my father's favorite, and is fairly easy to make.  It adds a touch of class to the table.  It was originated in America (not France), by Louis Diat , chef at the Ritz Hotel in New York, either in 1910 or 1917.  If you want to appear in the know (and in fact to be in the know), this admonition by Craig Claiborne in his THE NEW YORK TIMES COOK BOOK will be your ticket:

Someone should start a campaign to instruct Americans that vichyssoise is not pronounced veeshy-swah!  Because this creation of the late Louis Diat has become a national favorite, it seems only just that the final consonant be sounded.  It is veeshee-swaze.

In my version below, you will see that I have committed heresy.  I have substituted that wonderfully sweet onion from Vidalia, Georgia (the Vidalia) for the traditional leek. Louis Diat had no access to this fairly new allium, but if he had, perhaps he would have tried it too.  Necessity being the mother of invention, when I most recently made vichyssoise there were no leeks to be had—thus the substitution.  Vidalia is a noble replacement indeed, and is much easier to deal with in preparation (no worries about washing grit from between its leaves).


o  two large or three medium Vidalia onions, chopped.
o  one small red onion, chopped.
o  four tablespoons butter.
o  five medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly.
o  one quart chicken stock.
o  one teaspoon salt.
o  three cups milk.
o  one cup half and half.
o  one cup heavy cream.


o  In a large pot, add onions, butter, potatoes, chicken stock, salt.  Bring to boil and then simmer until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes).
o  Puree in a blender or food processor.
o  Return mixture to pot, add the milk and briefly bring to boil.
Cool and add the half and half and cream.
o  Chill thoroughly in refrigerator (James Beard has you do this for 24 hours, but you can cheat by putting it in your freezer for an hour or two, and then transferring it to the fridge).
o  Serve with a garnish of chopped chives.