Julia Child’s Vichyssoise

Since I am spending a lot of time cooking for one, I have been looking for recipes that I can freeze or turn into something else later in the week. Soups are such a savior for me because I can make a big batch, keep out two servings and freeze the rest for later. That way I don’t have to eat the same thing for a week in a row and I have something convenient and usually healthy after working all day. It helps a ton knowing that I can come home, pull soup from the freezer and have dinner in under 20 minutes with very little effort. I have saved a fortune doing this since I don’t feel compelled to stop for take out! Bonus: a soup like this is both economical and elegant.

I have been inspired this week to pull out Mastering the Art of French Cooking in honor of Julia Child’s birthday month. Leek and Potato soup is one of the very first recipes in the book and a wonderful easy way to dig in. I have some favorites of hers, but things like Beef Bourguignon or Chocolate Mousse are complicated and have a ton of ingredients. Sometimes making these dishes, I feel like I use every pot and pan I own! This soup was simple, straightforward with very few ingredients. It is also really versatile. The first night, after cooking, I just ladled it into a mug to be eaten on the couch. The second night, I had this as chilled vichyssoise; perfect for a warm summer evening. Fresh herbs from my garden on top and a glass of Rosé were the perfect compliment. If you wanted to go a step further, you could use this as a base and add anything you love. It is the perfect canvas to get creative. Enjoy a classic!

Vichyssoise (Leek and Potato Soup)

  • 3-4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white & a bit of the tender green part)
  • 3-4 cups diced potatoes (baking potatoes recommended)
  • 6 to 7 cups water
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 4-6 T heavy cream or 2-3 T butter (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives or parsley, minced

Bring the leeks, potatoes and water to the boil in a large pot. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 40-50 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Mash the vegetables or purée the soup. Taste, and correct seasoning. Off the heat, stir in the cream or butter. After chilling the soup, you may wish to stir in a little more cream. Taste carefully again, and correct the seasoning (sometimes salt becomes muted when chilled). Top each serving with a sprinkle of chives or parsley.

Note: the original recipe calls for water only. I almost always sub chicken stock for water, but refrained this time. I think stock always adds something, especially when you have homemade stock on hand. I also used an immersion blender which produced a silky texture. You could purée half the soup and leave it a bit chunkier.