Vichyssoise (potato and leek soup)

The essential Digby Law, 352pp.
compiled and edited by Jill Brewis
Hodder Moa Beckett, Auckland, 2001
Cooking on page 32

For many years, Digby Law was New Zealand’s food guru. In 1987, he died too young at age 51, but he left behind five wonderful cookbooks that have changed the way Kiwi’s (New Zealanders) approach food and eating.

His books cover vegetables (he is considered to be the Kiwi high priest of veggies), pickles and chutneys, soups and more.

This book is a sixth, and is a compilation of his best recipes. It was brought together by his long-time friend, Jill Brewis.

I bought it a couple of years ago in New Zealand. I can’t remember whether I paid full price, or got it second-hand. I wouldn’t have paid more than $20. I’ve noticed that it’s not readily available online and a recent copy sold for $47.99. Of course I’m feeling smug.

Vichyssoise (potato and leek soup)

4 leeks, washed and cut in fine slices
3 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons white pepper
chopped chives

When cutting the leeks, include about 8cm of their green tops. Cook with the potatoes in about 3 cups boiling water until very tender. Drain, then put through blender or press through a fine sieve. Return to saucepan. Add chicken stock, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Reheat—do not boil—to blend.

Can be served hot, but much better very cold with a block of ice in each dish. Garnish with paprika and chopped chives.

Serves 6.

How it played out
I’ve made potato and leek soup for years, but I’ve never made one that was actually titled as the French vichyssoise.

Digby gets thumbs up from me. I like that he said to use some of the green part of the leek. I hate waste, and he must have too. So I didn’t bother to peel the potatoes either. I’d like to think Digby would approve.

I followed the recipe, except that I used 4 cups of boiling water to cook the potatoes and leeks. I had some double cream near its use-by date, so used 1/4 cup of cream and 2 3/4 cups of milk. It made for a little richer result, but in a lovely way.

Lovely recipe. We ate this hot/warm because it’s winter in Australia. I’m still trying to decide whether I would use the full 2 teaspoons of white pepper in future. It was delicious as is, but I might cut back on the pepper.

That said, I look forward to trying more of Digby’s recipes. And I look forward to trying this recipe cold—if it lasts that long. Very popular with everyone at home.


About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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4 Responses to Vichyssoise (potato and leek soup)

  1. Must be the season, as JUST make potato and leek soup myself dairy free!
    Your DIGBY LAW one looks like an interesting recipe!
    Glad with this weather, did not serve with a cold ice block in each dish!
    WARM, comfort foods in SUMMER is NOW my winter wish!
    Well done and also like what you like about a recipe and your suggestions next time to make!
    Here’s hoping your next Page 32 is something to bake! 🙂

    • leggypeggy says:

      How fun that you made the same kind of recipe on the same day. Great minds!
      I’ll look out for something to bake, but it might not happen before we travel on Saturday. That said, I hope to cook from some page 32 recipes in the USA. Stay tuned. 🙂

  2. skippersy says:

    This soup is excellent on a very hot summers day. I am sure that this basic reciepe is very good, however, I have my own variation of this soup. That is it is similar, but I use instant potatoes as a thickener… and have sour cream on the side for people. Second, this soup is an American creation, would you believe (not French).

    Sy S.

    • leggypeggy says:

      I never knew it was an American creation. The things you learn. 🙂 Instant potatoes can be a big time saver. I’ll remember that. Thanks Sy. And I have a picture of your version that I need to post.

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