Vichyssoise? on a homestead? Vichyssoise is a perfect soup for the hot days of an Arkansas summer, but the original chilled soup is a bit too wasteful for me. Vichyssoise is ordinarily a creamy white color, brought on by using just the whites of leeks and peeled potatoes. This soup is more rustic and much more frugal, because it leaves the potato peels on and incorporates the green as well as white of the leek. The result is a richer, tastier but also more colorful soup.
It is also really, really easy to make. You just need to remember to start it early in the day or (even the night before) to let it cool. And, yes, with milk or cream and bacon crumbles and cheese instead of the yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream, you’ll have a tasty warm winter soup.
This recipe serves four. As always, measurements are approximate; use what you have!
One large leek
one two-handed handful of new red potatoes—about eight or nine small ones (yes, these were the bartered potatoes I wrote about here: http://ozarkhomesteader.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/farm-stand-market-bartering/
a carrot or two
pat of butter or about ½ T oil (Yes, I really mean use butter. If it’s organic, it contains good Omega-3 oils.)
water and/or chicken broth
½ cup to ¾ cup sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk (whatever you have on hand)
Begin by cleaning the leek. Slice it in half lengthwise and separate the leaves to reveal any embedded dirt. Then slice the green portions thinly. Set aside the white part. Now wash and dice the equivalent of one or two medium-sized carrots. If you have some misshapen carrots, this is a great time to use them, since they are first diced and then pureed. Next wash and dice all but three of the new potatoes.
No, don’t peel the veggies! That’s good stuff! Are you trying to bankrupt yourself?
Put the leek greens in an 8-inch Dutch oven (or any heavy-bottomed pot if you haven’t become dedicated to cast iron yet) lightly coated with butter or oil. Saute the leeks until they start to soften, and then add the diced carrots and diced potatoes. Stir them to coat with butter or oil and saute a couple of minutes. Add enough water to cover. Yes, you may use broth here, but with the carrot and leeks, you really don’t need it. Now cover the pot and walk away for about twenty or thirty minutes while it simmers. Then turn the pot off to let it cool.
While you wait, thinly slice the remaining leek white and the three reserved red new potatoes. Nope, don’t put them in yet!
Walk in the garden. Go weed a little. Pick salad greens. Drink a glass of lemonade or wine. Now go back and dump your cooled diced, cooked veggies in a blender, food processor, or, if you’re a Luddite like I can be, your food mill. I prefer using a food processor or blender for this recipe because the food mill will retain too much or the potato peel. Add a little sour cream, milk, or buttermilk if you need it to get the mixture going, anywhere from ½ cup to ¾ cup. Process the mixture to a smooth, creamy blend. Now set the blended mixture aside.
In the Dutch oven you already used, add a little more butter or oil, toss in the reserved sliced leek and potatoes, and stir to coat. Cover and cook on low heat for about fifteen to twenty minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked. Taste them! If the potatoes no longer taste raw, the leeks will be cooked too.
Add the sliced vegetables to the pureed mix and refrigerate until you are ready to eat them. Serve by dishing out the sliced veggies first and then adding on the pureed mixture.