Monday, July 9, 2012

Vichyssoise ... and Giveaway Winner Announced


















Since it's a balmy bazillion degrees outside, I thought it would be a good idea to make a cold soup.  Since I had on hand a couple large potatoes in relatively good shape, I figured why not transform them into vichyssoise.

Cold potato soup sounds like someone ladled out the previous night's leftovers without bothering to first reheat it because it was a bazillion degrees outside ... probably while standing in front of  an open fridge to enjoy a brief cold blast.  But when called by its French name, Vichyssoise (pronounced vih-shee-SWAHZ) sounds chic, exotic and complicated to prepare.

Despite the pretentious name, according to the book The United States of Arugula (pronounced ah-ROO-guh-lah), vichyssoise was first served at the Ritz-Carlton, NYC in 1917.  Chef Louis Diat had originally named it crème vichyssoise glacée (pronounced incorrectly most of the time) after Vichy, a town near his own home town back in France.  That was probably a good thing, otherwise we'd have to learn how to pronounce Montmarault-soise.
















The best vichyssoise IMHO is made with leeks.  But unless you live in France, leeks are freakin' expensive.  My herb garden happens to grow the fattest, most aromatic scallions around, so I used them instead of leeks or onions (second choice). 

I conveniently forgot that the kitchen might heat up a tad during the process.  So while the soup was simmering, I was as well until I finally gave up and ran off to shed clothes (don't worry, I never cook naked).

TIP ALERT!  If/when the potatoes stick to the bottom of the pot during the saute,  add veggie stock, then allow mixture to come to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.  The stuck yummy bits will easily loosen up and distribute themselves nicely throughout the soup.

By the way (TIP ALERT 2!) the next time you have burnt remnants of  former food stuck inside a pan, add about an inch of water along with a couple drops of dish-washing liquid and place over a lit burner.  After the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, then carefully scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, just like you did for this soup.  The difference here is that you probably don't want to eat the soapy bits.

TIP ALERT 3!  If you are planning to serve the soup the same night you are making it, about an hour before cook time, gently toss a can of evaporated milk into your freezer.  By  the time you are ready to add said milk, its resultant coldness will help to more quickly cool down the soup.

WOW!  Three tip alerts in one post!  This recipe is so tip-sy you might need a designated driver :P.

I used Eastern potatoes, but Yukon Gold or any other thin-skinned potato will work nicely.  The advantage of Eastern potatoes is that (at least in central NJ) they are less expensive and can store in the fridge without turning mealy-tasting.  The advantage of Yukon Gold is that they have a built-in buttery taste.  In either event, the reason I suggested thin-skin in the first place is that if you are sloppy with a veggie peeler, the clinging remnants of skin won't be too much of a problem come puree time.  Plus I like lumps in my creamy-type soups.  It tastes so much more home-made.  Perfectly smooth soups are boring ... every spoonful is exactly the same.

Feel free to substitute a cup of traditional heavy cream for all the evaporated milk.  You're too skinny anyway.

Because chilling tends to dull the flavors, food served cold usually needs more seasoning that if served hot.  Of course it's personal preference,  but you might want to add additional salt and pepper after the Big Chill.

Vichyssoise is my contribution to No Croutons Required,  hosted by Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen (a vegetarian site specializing in Indian cooking).  This month's theme is (are?) vegetarian soups and salads suitable to serve during the hot summer.

Oh, almost forgot ... the winner of last week's giveaway is ... comment #2 by Renee G!  Congrats, Renee!  A  mandoline slicer is heading your way, courtesy of OXO.

Vichyssoise
Yield: 4 family-sized or 8 dainty company servings

2 Tbl. butter
2 large thin-skinned potatoes, peeled and diced
1 scallion bunch (green parts only), chopped
1 heaping tsp. chopped garlic (bottled okay)
3 cups vegetable (or parve chicken) broth
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk, any variety
1 tsp. kosher salt (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper (or more to taste)
2 Tbl. chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
2 Tbls. Bacos, for garnish (optional)














Melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add potatoes and scallions.  Saute for 2 minutes, then add  garlic.














Stir around another 30 seconds, then slowly add vegetable broth.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low.














Simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft.














Remove from heat.  Use an immersion blender to puree soup to your liking (or let cool down and ladle into a blender).














 Stir in evaporated milk, salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Mini-tureen, courtesy of daDaughter and daSonInLaw

















Taste and add additional salt and/or pepper if needed.  Ladle into 4 soup bowls or 8 mini-tureens.  Garnish with chives and/or Bacos, if desired, and serve well chilled.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

So elegant. Thanks for your submission to NCR.

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