A Homage to Julia

I have been reading As Always, Julia: the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.  The book is a copy of the letters they exchanged as Julia was working on Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I think the book is a must read for fans of Julia Child.  These letters are more about  life in the diplomatic corps in the 50’s than about cooking.  I would recommend it to any real fan of Julia Child.  And while it didn’t have more than one or two recipes – the kind of thing you would give to a friend who requested one of your recipes, it made me think about Julia, the massive amount of work that went into Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and how I haven’t opened my set in a while.  Today I am rectifying that oversight:  I am making Vichyssoise.  This is actually a pretty easy soup and great for a summer night.  If I were making it for guests I would use the cream Julia calls for.  But it’s just for us so while it doesn’t provide the same mouth feel, I am using lower fat whole milk and some butter.

Here’s my version of Vichyssoise.  If you want Julia’s you’ll have to buy the book.

  • 3 to 4 cups peeled potatoes, evenly diced
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leeks including the tender green parts
  • 2 quarts of water ( I sometimes substitute 1 1/2 quart water and i/2 quart chicken broth)
  • 1 tbl kosher salt
  • 6 tbl milk
  • 3 tbl softened butter
  • 2 to 3 tbl minced chives
  • Simmer the potatoes, leeks, water and salt in a 4 quart sauce pan for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Transfer the vegetables to a food mill and push through or spoon the vegetables into a blender with some of the liquid and puree until smooth.  Set aside to cool.  Just before serving add the milk and the butter and stir well.  Ladle  into soup bowls and top with chopped chives.

By the way, it seem that only the cold version of this soup is called Vichyssoise.  Served warm it is merely Potato and Leek soup.  I just call it good.

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