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Cooking With Leeks | Potage Parisien | Vichyssoise


Image of a bowl of soup - vichyssoise

Vichyssoise is an iconic dish that gets frequent mention because it is one of the great anomolies of the culinary art, a soup that is cold! Believe it or not, vichyssoise is an American invention. Well, it was invented in America in classic "melting pot" style - by a Frenchman. Chef Louis Diat first concocted this soup in New York City's Ritz Carlton Hotel at about the turn of the century (well, the century before that - in 1900). It was said to be inspired by his boyhood memories back in his home country. As a young boy he would ask his mother for cold milk to add to hot soup, because he like to eat it cool. Like our potage Parisien, this recipe includes that classic combination of leeks and potatoes:


4 cups of sliced leeks (white part and tender part of green leaves only)
4 cups of diced potatoes
6 cups water
salt to taste
3/4 cup sour cream or some kind of heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon basil
dash of pepper


Toss the sliced leeks, diced potatoes, and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, (skimming off the potato scum) until the vegetables are tender.

You can puree the soup if you wish. Add parsley, basil, pepper, and salt to taste and allow to simmer for an additional five minutes.

Chill the soup overnight or for at least a couple of hours. Before serving stir in a little sour cream or some other heavy cream. Top each serving with a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives. This recipe makes six to eight servings.

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