Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vichyssoise

When we were in Paris for our honeymoon, we took at cooking class at Le Violon d'Ingres, one of Christian Constant's fabulous restaurants in the 7e arrondisement.  We ate at 3 of his 4 restaurants during our stay and they were among the best food we had in all of Paris!  During our cooking class with the Chef de Cuisine, Stéphane Schmidt, we made this lovely vichyssoise soup.  Although cold vichyssoise actually has American roots, we put a French spin on it in Paris, with ingredients like fresh, French goat cheese.  We had a blast learning recipes and working in the kitchen while everyone else was preparing for the day's service.  Here are some pictures from our cooking class:
 
I was craving a hearty soup and decided to make this recipe when I found some beautiful leeks in the grocery store.  I made a few changes, but overall it's the same as what we had in Paris.  I served it warm, since it's Fall and getting cooler, but you could always serve this chilled if you prefer.  This soup is delicious and so easy to make, yet it looks elegant and sophisticated!  Check out the recipe below. 


Vichyssoise Soup
- 3 tbs butter
- 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Worcestershire sauce 
- chopped chives and/or rosemary
- mild goat cheese or cream cheese for garnish

Melt the butter in a pan and cook the onions and leeks until soft.  Add the diced potatoes, chicken stock, milk and season with salt.  You could also add a little bit of garlic powder or white pepper here as well, to your specific tastes.

Simmer for about 35 minutes until all vegetables are cooked through.  Press through a sieve or blend to a puree using an immersion blender. Once smooth, add the cream and bring the soup back to a boil.  

Blend the mixture again and add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and additional seasonings if needed. 

If serving warm, garnish with a spoonful of goats cheese and sprinkle with chopped chives, and serve immediately.  Otherwise, put the soup in the fridge to chill and serve it very fresh with cheese and herbs.  You could also add a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar as final garnish, if desired.  


source: Stéphane Schmidt, Le Violon d'Ingres



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