Food & Drink Magazine

Not Quite Vichyssoise - A Cream of Leek, Fennel & Potato Soup

By Weavethousandflavors

A Cream of Leek, Fennel & Potato soup
 
If we were to serve  today's
soup - Cream of leek, fennel & potato soup cold, then it  would be apt to call it Vichyssoise. But as it stands, since Vichyssoise literally translates  from French to 'the cold cream soup from Vichy', so that would not do at all. 

I adore bisque's & cream soups and would devour them every other day in the winter if it was not for the fact that they all have cream and that is not very good at all for my hips or my thighs or  my belly - well, you get the drift.

So I was particularly excited to make this soup today since leeks are in season of course but also because I stumbled upon a Vichyssoise recipe in the Australian Women's Weekly that uses only 1/4 cup of cream. So I took the  recipe and tinkered with it - a little more leeks, a little less potatoes , a little more fennel & voila - we have dinner!

The results are heartily satisfying so be quick & try this while those leeks are still in season. 

fresh fennel, leeks, potatoes & chives
 
chopped fresh fennel, leeks, potatoes & garlic

The main ingredients in this soup are fresh fennel, leeks, garlic cloves,  & potatoes. In addition add some cream and chopped chives, some chopped fronds of fennel (the leafy bits that look like dill), employ the services of a blender and you're nearly there.

Prepare the ingredients before you begin at the stove -

Leeks -  Cut the leeks at the point where the leaves turn dark green & discard the leaves. Slice the leeks in half, cut & discard root tip and roughly chop.

Potatoes - Peel, wash and dice.

Fennel - Separate bulb from leaves. Discard all but 4-5 sprigs of fennel fronds. Halve the bulb and slice.

Garlic - Peel cloves and slice.

Chives - Chop with kitchen shears to make 1/4 cup

Fennel fronds - Chop to make 1/2 tbs

Melt butter in saute pan
 
Add leeks to pan

On medium heat, in a heavy bottomed saute pan, melt butter. As soon as it melts, add the leeks, fennel & garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes till the leeks soften.

Saute leeks and add potatoes
 
Saute leeks & potatoes

Add the potatoes and saute for approx 5 minutes till the leeks begin to slightly brown.

Add chicken stock
 
Simmer soup

Add the chicken stock. Since I was out of stock I added water with 1/2 tbs chicken bouillon powder.

Bring to a simmer - this may take as long as 10-15 minutes. Cover with a lid keeping the heat on medium all this while. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat.

Soup solids in blender
  
Blend to a puree

Spoon the solids into a blender with a glass jar.

Cook's Note - If you are using one with a plastic jar wait till the soup cools or the jar may crack due to heat.

Sieve the solids the bottom of the pan into the blender making sure you have all of the leeks etc and set the stock aside.  Blend for 4-5 seconds until a thick smooth puree is formed.

Return soup to pan
 
Add fennel fronds, chives & cream

Return back to the pan on medium heat and add the stock. Stir till well blended. Add the chopped chives, chopped fennel fronds, salt & cream. Stir till well blended. Do not bring to boil, just heat the soup.

Taste & adjust salt.

Ready to serve, Cream of Leek, Fennel & Potato soup

Plate in individual soup bowls or in a large soup tureen. Serve warm with slices of artisan French or Italian bread and soft butter.

The creamy texture of the soup with the hint of garlic & onion flavors was quite lovely. Fortunately it was lapped up by the kids as well & they merrily dunked their bread in the soup. I was too busy trying not to make  slurpy noises as I lapped up my soup!

Though it was such a simple meal it was just what was needed to warm us on this cold winters night.

Recipe for

CREAM OF LEEK, FENNEL & POTATO SOUP

Serves 4

Preparation time - 10 minutes

Cooking time -  approx 25 minutes

Shopping list -

3 large leeks

1 fresh fennel

2 medium potatoes

2 garlic cloves

fresh chives (enough to make 1/4 cup, chopped)

6 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbs butter

3/4 tsp salt

Preparation-

Leeks -  Cut the leeks at the point where the leaves turn dark green & discard the leaves. Slice the leeks in half, cut & discard root tip and roughly chop.

Potatoes - Peel and dice

Fennel bulb - Separate bulb from leaves. Discard all but 4-5 sprigs of fennel fronds. Halve the bulb and slice.

Garlic - Peel and slice

Chives - Chop with kitchen shears to make 1/4 cup

Fennel fronds - Chop to make 1/2 tbs

Cooking method -

On medium heat, in a heavy bottomed saute pan, melt butter. As soon as it melts, add the leeks, fennel & garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes till the leeks soften.

Add the potatoes and saute for approx 5 minutes till the leeks begin to slightly brown.

Add the chicken stock.

Bring to a simmer - this may take as long as 10-15 minutes. Cover with a lid keeping the heat on medium all this while. Simmer for 30 minutes. Take off heat.

Spoon the solids into a blender with a glass jar.

Sieve the solids the bottom of the pan into the blender making sure you have all of the leeks etc and set the stock aside.  Blend for 4-5 seconds until a thick smooth puree is formed.

Return back to the pan on medium heat and add the stock. Stir till well blended. Add the chopped chives, chopped fennel fronds, salt & cream. Stir till well blended. Do not bring to boil, just heat the soup.

Taste & adjust salt.

Enjoy!


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