Vichyssoise is a thick soup made of puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but can be eaten hot.
The origin of Vichyssoise is debated among culinary historians. Julia Child calls it “an American invention”. Others say “the origin of the soup is questionable as to whether it’s genuinely French or an American creation”.
Louis Diat, a French chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York, is most often credited with its (re)invention. In 1950, Diat told New Yorker magazine:
“In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.”
2 Tblsp butter
3 large leeks, washed and sliced, about 2 cups
1 onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cream and chopped chives for garnish
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leeks and onion. Stir over medium heat for about 8 minutes. Mix in the potato. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise, add salt and pepper and stir in the cream. Let it cool down to room temperature and then chill in the fridge if serving cold or heat through and serve hot. Garnish with a swirl of cream and chopped chives.