First, I have to admit something. I am L-A-Z-Y. I never do recipes exactly right, not even the first time I try them. I usually don’t measure things but I’m really good at eyeballing measurements (though I’m no Justin Wilson). Part of it is laziness, another part is… well, laziness. I often don’t have all the right ingredients, though I usually assume I do and don’t even bother checking before I start, so I do a lot of substitutions, sometimes intending to follow a recipe (hah) and ending up making something maybe remotely similar. So if you’re a perfectionist, want the exact recipe to a T, and are annoyed with occasional frequent approximations, you might get a little annoyed. You have been warned.
To start us off, we’ll go with a super-simple recipe that is very versatile and sounds pretty cool: vichyssoise (vish-shay-swah). I have made it twice now, the second time tonight with my new KitchenAid immersion blender and I have to say I’m not sure which I prefer, chunky or smooth as recommended. My husband actually preferred the chunky version.
I went with Alton Brown’s recipe, and even watched the video:
- 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 1 cup heavy cream **
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
Chop the leeks into small pieces.
In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.
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** Trick I recently learned when working on cutting fat is to “step down” all milk products. If something calls for heavy cream, use half and half. If it calls for half and half, use whole milk and so on. You can downstep even more if you so choose. The first time I made this, I had neither buttermilk nor heavy cream or half and half, so I just used whole milk, and this time I did it almost “right” but substituted half and half for the heavy cream. Really didn’t make much a difference either way.
I also use less leeks, but more of the leek as well, up into the green. This makes my soup… not as pretty as Alton’s. In fact, it was a little gross-looking, but you know what? It’s dang tasty.
For fall and winter, this soup is really good warm. I put my leftovers in the fridge with some freeze-dried chives, and I’m going to try it cold (the traditional way) tomorrow. Put in little shotglasses and drank would probably appeal to small children, just for the entertainment factor. I’m not too big on tricking kids into eating healthy or hiding things, but I don’t see anything wrong with making something fun.
So what do you think? Sound tasty to you?
If you make it, let me know what you think!