Cool Summer Soup: Vichyssoise

When the temperature goes up, this is one of my favorite soups to make. Easy and economical, it is wonderful when served chilled, but it has a split personality - it can also be served hot!

Vichyssoise, a French creation, is one of the food items that started Anthony Bourdain on a lifelong passion for food. While its fancy name brings to mind white-gloved service and fine china, this soup had very humble beginnings and uses easy-to-find everyday ingredients.

Julia Child's Vichyssoise Recipe, from The Way To Cook

Yield: 6-8 servings, about 2 1/2 quarts

"Here is the mother of the family in all her simplicity. You'll note there's no chicken stock here, just water, leeks, potatoes, and salt in the soup base. However, you may include chicken stock if you wish, and you may certainly include milk. A bit of cream at the end is a nourishing touch, but by no means necessary." -- Julia Child from The Way to Cook , Alfred A. Knopf.

Note: If you are not puréeing the soup, cut the vegetables rather neatly.

• 4 cups sliced leeks, white part only
• 4 cups diced potatoes, old or baking potatoes recommended
• 6 to 7 cups water
• 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
• 1/2 cup or more sour cream, heavy cream, or crème fraîche, optional
• 1 Tablespoon fresh chives or parsley, minced

Special Equipment Suggested : A heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan with cover

Simmering the soup : Bring the leeks, potatoes and water to the boil in the saucepan. Salt lightly, cover partially, and simmer 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Purée the soup if you wish. Taste, and correct seasoning. After chilling the soup, you may wish to stir in a little more cream. Taste carefully again, and correct the seasoning. Top each serving with a sprinkle of chives or parsley.

Related:
Roundup: Chilled Summer Soups (Other than Gazpacho)
Kesäkeitto: An Easy Finnish Summer Soup To Try
Recipe Recommendation: Borscht
Cooking By Feel: French Ingredients and Flavors

(Image: Kathryn Hill Recipe: Julia Child)