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Leeks and potatoes are a classic pairing in Vichyssoise (pronounced vee shee swahzz), the cold version of this soup. Julienne Darblay is served hot with an “elegant” garnish of julienned vegetables.
Vichyssoise was invented by a French chef named Louis Diat in New York City near the beginning of the 20th Century. He worked at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Madison Avenue at 46th Street and called this soup Creme Vichyssoise Glacée, or Chilled Cream Vichyssoise, after the town where he was born. (J.J. Schnebel)
Base of Chicken Stock
The base of this soup is chicken stock, so I was able to use up more stock from my freezer that I made earlier in the year. Julia Child’s version of Vichyssoise uses water, but the extra flavor from a homemade chicken stock improves the soup’s flavor.
Leeks and Potatoes
It’s important to clean leeks thoroughly since sand and dirt like to settle in-between the leaves. Here’s a video of Jacques Pépin cleaning a leek.
Although the recipe calls for dicing the potatoes, in the end the soup is puréed so the accuracy of each cut doesn’t have to be as precise. The reason to keep them a uniform size is for even cooking.
This soup, known as a potage, or thick soup, is thickened by puréeing the vegetables using a food mill, processor, or blender. I used my blender, but I made sure to take the feeder cap on the lid out, cover the hole with a dry towel, and hold the lid down when I turned the blender on. Otherwise, my kitchen would have been covered in soup!
The cream added at the end also serves to thicken the soup and add some more flavor.
Garnish of Julienned Vegetables
In this Julienne Darblay soup, the julienne refers to the garnish of vegetables cut into julienne and blanched. I used carrot, leek, and parsnip instead of turnip. (I actually made a mistake when I pulled the parsnip instead of the turnip from my refrigerator!) I like peppery flavor of the parsnip and this mild soup needed the extra flavor boost from the parsnip so it was a good mistake.
I ended up julienning more vegetables than I needed for the soup so next time I would only do enough for each bowl as a garnish. Also, julienning baby carrots isn’t such a good idea since it’s hard to get them uniform without wasting most of the carrot. Next time julienned carrots are called for, I’ll have to get the good ol’ fashioned kind of carrots that look like they’re actually grown in the ground!
You can find the recipe for Julienne Darblay (Creamed Leek and Potato Soup with Julienned Vegetables) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with this week's recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!
This was a silky-smooth light soup. The crunch from the tender julienned vegetables made it even more delicious. I had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper for extra flavor. Although the recipe calls for white pepper, I’ve never liked it. I find it has a sharp, harsh taste, so I always just use freshly ground black pepper even though classically white soups shouldn’t have the ugly black specks in them!
This soup tasted even better while we were camping! I served it along with brie baked on the grill with chopped apples, pecans, and craisins. Delicious!
Next Week (July 23)
• Velouté Agnès Sorel (Cream of Chicken Soup) pages 444-445
Note that I may be late with my post since I'm travelling next week.
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Running total: $475.26 + $7.73 = $482.99
Butter used so far: 6 pounds, 12 tablespoons