Is there any food more cooling than a cucumber? How about lettuce? Or a soup that’s best served chilled? Cucumber and Lettuce Vichyssoise from Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall should be a part of your Summer meal plan.
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Were you under the impression vichyssoise was a French invention as I was? It’s not. According to Wikipedia it was served 100 years ago at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York City. The chef, Louis Diat, was attempting to recreate a childhood experience where he and his brother would pour cold milk into potato and leek soup made by his grandmother. The chef was French, so I guess it could be called a French soup. I can relate to the story as there are quite a few recipes on the blog that have been recreated based on childhood memories.
You will need to plan ahead as the soup needs time to chill. Make it in the morning or the night before for best results.
This recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage site features dairy products and that’s what I used. Feel free to make any substitutions you like. Olive oil or vegan spread for the butter and vegan cream for the regular stuff. To be honest, I’ve tried commercial vegan nut creams in other creamy soups and wasn’t impressed. However, Go Dairy Free has plenty of alternatives you might want to try.
- 4 tablespoons butter (half stick)
- 2 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced (don't use the dark green parts)
- 1 potato (about the size of two fists) peeled and cut into large cubes
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 cucumbers, peeled and diced
- 2 small heads of lettuce like Boston Bibb
- 3 tablespoons cream plus a little more for garnish
- chopped chives for garnish
- Melt the butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until they soften.
- Add the potato and stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes. The potato should be almost cooked.
- Stir in the cucumbers and shredded lettuce, return to the boil and simmer until the cucumber is heated through and the lettuce has wilted.
- Use a stick blender to puree the soup. If you want it to be super smooth put it through a fine strainer.
- Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Leave on the stove while it cools, then chill for four hours or overnight.
- To serve drizzle a little more cream and garnish with chopped chives.
I didn’t find the cucumber to be a very prominent flavor. I don’t know if it’s because I used an English cucumber or not. The color of the soup will depend on the type of lettuce used. If you can’t find the small heads of lettuce feel free to substitute any type of lettuce you come across.
Cucumber and Lettuce Vichyssoise can be served chilled, at room temperature or heated. I like it at room temperature.
Now’s the time for confession. I got a little carried away with the cream when taking the photo. It made the soup unpleasantly fatty. Don’t do what I did but if you do, dump your bowl into a mixing bowl and add some more “plain” soup. Stir to combine and voila! now you have two bowls of soup. 🙂
This post is part of Potluck Week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. During potluck week we cook any recipe we like from any of the IHCC featured chefs, an impressive list as you can tell. Drop by and see what everyone else has made!