This Creamy Leek and Potato Soup, known in French as Soupe Vichyssoise (or sometimes “Potage Parmentier) is made of puréed leeks and potatoes, enriched with cream. This is a simple soup that’s absolutely comforting when enjoyed warm on a chilly day. But I love that you can also enjoy it chilled. It makes for a perfectly refreshing bowl during warmer days too.
The origin of the Soupe Vichyssoise.
The Soupe Vichyssoise is a classic of the French repertoire, but its origin has fueled a culinary “battle” between the French and the Americans.
Some recount it was King of France Louis XV who had his servants taste the potato and leek soup for fear it would be poisoned. And by the time the soup arrived to his table it was already cold.
On the other hand, another story attributes the origin of this soup to Louis Diat, French chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City in the ealry 1900s. He supposedly added this chilled soup on the restaurant’s menu, as a memory from the one his mother and grand mother used to make him during his childhood spent near the spa town of Vichy, in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, in South Eastern France.
A basic, affordable and surprisingly refreshing soup.
The combination of puréed leeks and potatoes isn’t necessary what comes to mind when thinking of chilled refreshing soups – but it truly is delicious! It is satisfying, healthy-ish and the addition of cream makes for a velvety texture.
Potatoes and leeks are also both affordable. And I like to think the Soupe Vichyssoise proves how basic, uncomplicated soups often end up being the most beloved.
This recipe is a must have in your French repertoire, and can be served and enjoyed year-round: warm in the Fall and Winter, and chilled in the Spring and Summer.
- Choose large leeks, which are best for making soups. Rinse them thoroughly, especially in-between the leaves and do not refrigerate them or they’ll lose their delicate texture and become too tough.
- Choose startchy potatoes, like Russets, Yukon Golds or Idaho – which will make the soup creamier and more flavour-packed.
- I choose to garnish this bowl with fresh dill, although chive is more commonly used to top up Soupe Vichyssoise. Flat-leaf parsley or watercress also works perfectly.
- My version is on the lighter side, with “only” 1/2 cup heavy cream. Feel free to add more if you wish. And for an even lighter version, substitute the vegetable stock for water and the heavy cream for milk.
I hope you’ll love this Creamy Leek and Potato Soup (Soupe Vichyssoise) as much as I do!
You may also like:
2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and diced
2 large leeks or 3 small (about 500g)
3 potatoes, peeled and diced (about 800g)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (1L) vegetable stock
½ cup heavy cream (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Optional: Dill sprigs, for garnish
Step 1 - Remove the ends of the leeks, open them in half lenghtwise and wash thouroughly under water to remove any dirt in-between the leaves. Cut into thin slices.
Step 2 -In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes until translucent. Add the leeks and sauté for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly caramelized.
Add the diced potatoes and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Step 3 -Pour in the vegetable stock, add salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower to medium-low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Turn off the heat.
Step 4 -Purée the soup until smooth, using an immersion hand blender or working in batches using a regular blender. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream (or more, to taste) and nutmeg. Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed (salt, pepper).
Enjoy the soup hot or chilled. For chilling, wait for the soup to cool to room temperature and chill for at least two hours before serving.
For serving, garnish with fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley or chives.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appétit!