Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Potato-Corn Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise is a thick potato and leek soup that is traditionally enjoyed chilled. And, though it sounds French, it is - apparently - and American creation. Well, it's the invention of a Frenchman who was a chef at the Ritz-Carlton. Louis Diat recounted to New Yorker magazine in 1950:

In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz. 

Et voilà!

New Potato-Corn Vichyssoise
inspired by Laurey Masterton's The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper's Kitchen

I have had vichyssoise many times and always thought that there was something lacking. Masterton's addition of honey solved that problem; honey adds a sweet intrigue to this otherwise bland soup. This is perfect for a Springtime picnic.

1/2 C butter
5 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, peeled and diced
6 C organic chicken stock
4 C cubed potatoes (I used Yukon gold for the color)
1 C sweet corn kernels
freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper
1 C milk
2 C half-n-half
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
honey for garnish (I used a local pine honey)

In a large souppot, melt the butter and saute the leeks and onion until softened and translucent but not browned. Pour in the stock and add the potatoes and corn. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. Let cool slightly and puree in a blender. Return the soup to the pot. Pour in the milk and half-n-half. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes but do not let it boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Fold in the parsley.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chill completely in the refrigerator. To serve, ladle into individual cups, or bowls, and drizzle with honey for garnish.  

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