VICHYSSOISE WITH CAVIAR CREAM

DESPITE ITS HAUTE CUISINE MONICKER, VICHYSSOISE IS JUST POTATO AND LEEK SOUP, PERHAPS THE HUMBLEST AND MOST VERSATILE OF FRENCH SOUPS.  POTATOES, LEEKS, ONION, AND CHICKEN STOCK ARE COOKED TOGETHER TILL THE POTATOES ARE TENDER ENOUGH TO PURÉE.  VICHYSSOISE CAN BE SERVED HOT OR COLD.  ADD SPINACH OR SORREL AND IT BECOMES SPINACH OR SORREL SOUP.  THE FLAVOR IS CERTAINLY DEPENDENT ON THE QUALITY OF YOUR CHICKEN STOCK.  HOME-MADE STOCK WILL GIVE YOUR VICHYSSOISE MORE BODY AND DEPTH THAN CANNED OR BOXED BROTH, BUT IF YOU'VE ONLY GOT THE LATTER, IT'LL STILL TASTE GOOD.  IT WAS BETTE'S AND HOWARD'S  ANNIVERSARY; A WARM SEPTEMBER NIGHT, SO I SERVED IT CHILLED.  BUT BECAUSE THIS WAS A SPECIAL OCCASION, I DECIDED TO ELEVATE IT WITH CAVIAR AND CRÈME FRAÎCHE.  STIRRED INTO THE CREAMY SOUP, THE OSETRA EGGS POPPED IN THE MOUTH, TAKING IT BEYOND POTATO AND LEEK, BEYOND VICHYSSOISE.

 3 MEDIUM NEW POTATOES
 1 LARGE LEEK
 1 SMALL BROWN ONION OR A FEW SHALLOTS
 6 cups CHICKEN STOCK
 FRESH THYME
 3 oz OSETRA CAVIAR
 CRÈME FRAÎCHE
 HEAVY CREAM
 OPTIONAL: FRESH CHIVES
1

PEEL THE POTATOES AND CUT INTO ROUGH CHUNKS.

TRIM THE LEEK, LEAVING THE WHITE AND PALE GREEN LEAVES. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. RINSE UNDER RUNNING WATER TO REMOVE ANY DIRT. SHAKE DRY AND CUT UP ROUGHLY.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. CUT UP ROUGHLY.

MELT 3 TBSPS BUTTER IN A TBSP OF OIL IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN ON A MEDIUM-LOW FLAME.

ADD THE ONION AND COOK UNTIL IT STARTS TO SOFTEN. ADD THE LEEKS AND COOK UNTIL THEY SOFTEN. DUMP IN THE POTATOES AND COOK BRIEFLY.

POUR IN THE STOCK. ADD A FEW SPRIGS OF THYME. SALT AND PEPPER. BRING TO A BOIL, THEN SIMMER FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES UNTILT THE POTATOES ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SHARP KNIFE.

WHEN THE SOUP HAS COOLED, PURÉE WITH AN IMMERSION BLENDER OR IN A FOOD PROCESSOR. CHILL UNTIL READY TO SERVE.

MIX 1/2 CUP OF CRÉME FRAÎCHE WITH 2 TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM. STIR IN THE CAVIAR.

DIVIDE THE SOUP INTO 6 EQUAL PORTIONS. SPOON A GLOP OF CAVIAR CREAM IN THE CENTER OF EACH BOWL AND SERVE.

OPTIONAL: FRESHLY-CHOPPED CHIVES.

Ingredients

 3 MEDIUM NEW POTATOES
 1 LARGE LEEK
 1 SMALL BROWN ONION OR A FEW SHALLOTS
 6 cups CHICKEN STOCK
 FRESH THYME
 3 oz OSETRA CAVIAR
 CRÈME FRAÎCHE
 HEAVY CREAM
 OPTIONAL: FRESH CHIVES

Directions

1

PEEL THE POTATOES AND CUT INTO ROUGH CHUNKS.

TRIM THE LEEK, LEAVING THE WHITE AND PALE GREEN LEAVES. SLICE LENGTHWISE IN HALF. RINSE UNDER RUNNING WATER TO REMOVE ANY DIRT. SHAKE DRY AND CUT UP ROUGHLY.

TRIM AND PEEL THE ONION. CUT UP ROUGHLY.

MELT 3 TBSPS BUTTER IN A TBSP OF OIL IN A LARGE SAUCEPAN ON A MEDIUM-LOW FLAME.

ADD THE ONION AND COOK UNTIL IT STARTS TO SOFTEN. ADD THE LEEKS AND COOK UNTIL THEY SOFTEN. DUMP IN THE POTATOES AND COOK BRIEFLY.

POUR IN THE STOCK. ADD A FEW SPRIGS OF THYME. SALT AND PEPPER. BRING TO A BOIL, THEN SIMMER FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES UNTILT THE POTATOES ARE EASILY PIERCED WITH A SHARP KNIFE.

WHEN THE SOUP HAS COOLED, PURÉE WITH AN IMMERSION BLENDER OR IN A FOOD PROCESSOR. CHILL UNTIL READY TO SERVE.

MIX 1/2 CUP OF CRÉME FRAÎCHE WITH 2 TBSPS OF HEAVY CREAM. STIR IN THE CAVIAR.

DIVIDE THE SOUP INTO 6 EQUAL PORTIONS. SPOON A GLOP OF CAVIAR CREAM IN THE CENTER OF EACH BOWL AND SERVE.

OPTIONAL: FRESHLY-CHOPPED CHIVES.

VICHYSSOISE WITH CAVIAR CREAM
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