Monday, November 10, 2008

Vichyssoise

Again, do not ask me to pronounce that. This doesn't help either: pronounced /viːʃiːˈswɑːz/, commonly mispronounced /viːʃiːˈswɑː/. That looks like braille to me! From what I can make out in the International Phonetic Alphabet key it's vee-she-swaz, mispronounced as vee-shee-swa.

Wikipedia explains vichyssoise as a French-style soup made of pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock. It's supposed to be served cold, traditionally, but the thought of that makes me shudder. I'm not a fan of cold soups. Something about it just seems weird.

It reminds me of when my brother and I had a few au pairs from other countries when we were younger. One from France, two from Spain and two from England. I remember one from Spain tried peanut butter and bananas together. She wasn't really opposed to the flavor, but she just couldn't get used to the texture. Cold soup has that "wrong texture" feeling to me. My tongue and mind just can't seem to converge and make sense of it as a collective unit.

Apparently Anthony Bourdain lists vichyssoise as the catalyst of his lifelong passion for food, telling of a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary at the age of 9, when he first discovered this "delightfully cool, tasty liquid." Maybe, just maybe, I'll try a few spoonfuls after it's cooled down after all. Although, I'm not fully convinced Bourdain can be trusted because he eats some pretty nasty looking things and his tastebuds are probably fried from being such a heavy smoker. On one show, with his brother, they went to France together and he ate this fish soup that almost made my eyes tear up through the TV, imagining the smell, as they described its cooking process. Bllllleck.

I had to work Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and this was on the menu for that night because it was easy. I already pre-cooked the potatoes and chopped up the leeks. That just left heating up and pureeing! Still, I just didn't have the desire to cook it.

I whipped it up this afternoon so tonight's dinner would be just bringing up to temperature. I put a little dallop of Smart Balance and splash of olive oil in a pan, threw in 3 cloves of minced garlic and 2 chopped leeks. I let these cook a little while with the lid on, until the leeks softened. Then I added about 2 teaspoons of Italian seasonings, because the recipe called for thyme and marjoram, both of which were in the pre-mixed container. Once this was fragrant, I added about 4 cups of diced, cooked potatoes and 6 cups of vegetable stock. I brought his up to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once this was done, I brought the pot over by the sink and had a "puree" station set up, much like the one I used for the cauliflower soup. This time, I used the blender instead of the food processor. I dumped the pureed soup into a big serving bowl, so I could stir and incorporate it all as a whole in the end, in case some blender-fuls had more potatoes than the others, etc. I was going for consistency.

It became apparent VERY quickly that I'd done something wrong. This soup I'd read about and seen pictures of, was supposed to be white. Mine was bright green. The recipe I had from Food Network's site said absolutely nothing about only using the white parts of the leeks, but looking at some other recipes, I found out that's what I was supposed to have done. Oops. I tasted a few spoonfuls and it is still very, very tasty, so we'll definitely eat it. But, traditional Vichyssoise it is not, I'm afraid.

I'm not sure if it's because I used all of the leeks and it made more, but this was tons! I filled a medium saucepan for tonight's dinner to be heated and then a container I put in the downstairs freezer for a dinner in the future. The finishing touch of this soup is to stir in some sour cream (the entire recipe called for 1 cup) before serving. This recipe says to heat the soup, but like I said earlier, it's meant to be eaten cold, traditionally. I froze the other half sans sour cream. I wasn't sure how that would keep its consistency, so I'll just thaw, bring to temperature, and stir in sour cream at the end, like the original recipe calls for.

2 comments:

Nowheymama said...

Mmm... this looks good!

biz319 said...

I have the same problem with cool/cold soups - my mind thinks they should be hot!

Over the summer my mom and I split a cool asparagus soup, and both thought it would have been better heated up!

Love the green color though!