My Journey Into Julia Child’s Cookbook Recipe #1: Potato and Leek Soup & Vichyssoise [RECIPE]

Good Evening Everyone!

Do you know the children’s nursery story about the “Three Little Bears”? The papa bear loves his porridge hot. The mama bear loves her porridge cold. But the baby bear loves it just right. I was reminded of this story when I was cooking two pots of soup today. One was the traditional French potage parmentier, or potato and leek soup. And in the other was the American version, vichyssoise, that is traditionally served cold. The family was bubbling with excitement for both.

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Now I must admit that I had to google how to pronounce vichyssoise. You say it like this: Vichy-swah-suh. There’s even a Youtube video that will teach you how to say it. πŸ˜‰ Now that we know how to pronounce this dish, let’s get into the fun stuff… the cooking! First was the French soup. I was extremely impressed with Julia Child’s potato and leek soup. This dish is so simple that anyone can make it. She takes potatoes and leeks (or yellow onions as an equal substitute) and simmers them in a pot of water for almost an hour. Add a bit of salt and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream. Mix and you’re done! How easy is that? The result is a delicious, creamy, thick soup that is light and would pair beautifully with a salad.

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French Potato and Leek Soup (served hot)

Next up is the American version, vichyssoise. This soup turned out lighter in color and thinner in consistency due to the addition of 1 cup of heavy cream. Vichyssoise also substitutes chicken broth in place of the water from the french version of potato and leek soup. I had never had chilled soup before, so this was a first for me. I’m so glad that my initiation into chilled soups began with the humble potato because this soup was simple and absolutely sublime.

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American Vichyssoise (served cold)

Mr. Noob Chef was definitely like papa bear in the story. He did not like the concept of his soup being cold. After taking a bite of it served chilled… he promptly went to the microwave to heat his back up. The Noob Chef Junior was like me, lapping it up happily with bites of warmed bread on the side. This soup was light, flavorful, refreshing, and deeply satisfying. If you get the opportunity to cook both of these, I encourage you to do so. Not only can you make dinner ahead of time and pop it in the fridge to chill, but you’ll have soup (with plenty of leftovers) for lunch and quick meals to go.

I hope you all enjoy these soups as much as we did. Stay tuned for the next recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook. And until then everyone, have a wonderful night and keep on cooking! ❀

Traditional Potage Parmentier (Potato and Leek Soup- served hot)

Courtesy of: Julia Child, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:Β 

  • 3-4 cups or 1 lb. of peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
  • 3 cups or 1 lb. of leeks, sliced thin including the tender greens or yellow onions
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons whipping cream or 2-3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced parsley or chives (for garnish)

Instructions:Β 

  1. Simmer the vegetables in a large pot of water with salt, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes or until the vegetables become tender.
  2. Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork, or pass the soup through a food mill. (Note: I used an immersion blender in this step to get the soup pureed).
  3. Turn off the heat before serving. Stir in the cream or butter by the spoonfuls. Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs.

 

Vichyssoise (Cold Leek and Potato Soup)Β 

Courtesy of: Julia Child, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”Β 

Serves: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:Β 

  • 3 cups peeled, sliced potatoes
  • 3 cups sliced white of leek
  • 1 1/2 quarts of white stock, chicken stock, or canned chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt & white pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons minced chives

Instructions:Β 

  1. Simmer the vegetables in stock or broth instead of water as described in the master recipe. Puree the soup either in the electric blender, or through a food mill and then through a fine sieve.
  2. Stir in the cream. Season to taste, over-salting very slightly as salt loses savor in a cold dish. Chill.
  3. Serve in chilled soup cups and decorate with minced chives.

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