Most food historians generally attribute the creation of this cold soup in 1917 to Louis Diat, chef at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in NewYork. There are, however, some conflicting facts that make this story interesting. Was Mr. Diat the first to make French-style cream of leek and potato soup? Culinary evidence suggests not. Recipe 696 in Escoffier's Guide Culinaire (circa 1903) provides instructions for purée parmentier. The difference? Mr. Escoffier's soup was served hot; Mr. Diat's vichyssoise was served cold. If there is a connection to Vichy (beyond the name), it has not been preserved for posterity.
3 cups Leeks, use white part only
1/4 cup Unsalted butter
1/2 cup White onions, 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) dice
2 cups All-purpose potatoes, peeled, 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) dice
3 cups Chicken stock
to taste Salt and white pepper
3/4 cup Milk
1 cup Heavy cream
1/3 cup Chives, snipped
1 Split the leeks lengthwise, wash well to remove all sand and grit, then slice them.
2 Heat the butter over medium heat and add the leeks and onions. Cook slowly, browning them very lightly.
3 Add the potatoes and chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the leeks and potatoes are very tender, approximately 45 minutes.
4 Purée the soup in a food processor, blender, or food mill, then run through a fine strainer.
5 Return purée to the heat and add the milk and 1/2 cup cream. Season to taste and return to a boil. Strain again through a fine strainer.
6 Let cool, then add remaining cream. Chill thoroughly before serving, garnished with snipped chives.
American Regional Cuisine
by The Art Institutes
John Wiley & Sons
Recipe reprinted by permission.
Kate's Global Kitchen: Cooking Know-It-Alls
Unlike the petri dishes and test tube foods of the mad scientists, the recipes below reflect traditional methods, but ones well worth knowing, especially before deconstructing your next shrimp cocktail. Be sure to read their headnotes, to learn more about the history behind each dish.
Recipes from American Regional Cuisine
Cooking History and Lore
Copyright © 2006, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created August 2006