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
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.
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.