While researching this recipe, I was pretty surprised to discover that vichyssoise, traditionally a pureed soup made with potatoes and leeks, does not actually come from France. With a name like that, it was hard to believe. In reality, it was likely an American invention by a chef working at the Ritz-Carlton in New York. Granted, he was French and Vichy, France, was not far from his hometown.
But whether vichyssoise is an American or French invention doesn't matter too much. The point is the soup's simplicity: a puree of potato, cream, stock provide the soup's body to showcase whichever vegetable is at hand.
The original recipe featured leeks, which are also found in this version from Whole Living, but the addition of carrot gives it a beautiful color and sweetness. The result is basically carrot essence in soup form. Opting for milk instead of cream, this is a little lighter than some recipes, which was welcome because the potato is plenty starchy. The soup can also be chilled and served cold, but it's equally delicious straight from the pot.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large leeks (1 1/2 pounds), white and light green parts coarsly chopped
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled
- 5 carrots (9 ounces), peeled
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
Divide the carrots and potatoes. Cut half the potatoes into small chunks and half the carrots into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Reserve the remaining potatoes and carrots.
In a dutch oven or stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the leeks and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, stock, salt, pepper, and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the milk, then transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If desired, chill in the refrigerator, or return to the heat to warm through.
In the meantime, bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Cut the remaining potatoes and carrots into fine matchsticks and blanch them in the water until just tender, 2-3 minutes. Drain and, if serving the soup cold, shock them in cold water. Otherwise, add them to the soup.
Serve the soup in shallow bowls with the vegetable matchsticks and snipped chives.