Sunday, 25 August 2013

Soup Sunday: vichyssoise

It's hot under the Andalusian sun. So unbelievably scorching hot. As my hair glues together forming dreadlock-like nests and my face sweats in shades of purple even Pantone colour chart doesn't recognize I can't help but wonder what the attraction of blonde women in the Southern part of the world is based on. I can tell you the scent of Schengen visa fails to overpower the smell of me after my deodorant has failed already at 10 am... (Oh no...I've become one of those people I hate on airplanes!)

Before my first ever trip to Israel my Hebrew teacher at the time genuinely wanted to know if I was insane. Being an Israeli himself he would have never ever voluntarily spent time in the heatwave of July and August. And trying it was. But keeps calling me back, year after year.

I don't know whether it's the old age getting to me but I don't remember ever struggling with these temperatures this much. The Gentleman, currently living here full-time has acclimatized to a level of a Kenyan marathon runner. "What? It's only 34 degrees!".

Yeah. In the shade! The only consolation is that the tan is coming along nicely. Though I doubt I'll have a chance to show it off as I return to Finland. Swathed in jumpers. And anyway, it'll only lead to skin cancer, right?

In addition to positive thinking this heat has killed my enthusiasm in the kitchen. If you can't stand the heat and so on. So, it's time to pull yet another chilled soup out of my sleeve: vichyssoise, the most classic of them all. It takes no real effort to make, keeps well in the cold and only gets better with time. I've seen some recipes use as much cream as they use chicken stock but I just find that a tad too much. Especially seeing how I need to (at least try and) look good in a bikini. A reminder for the winter: the soup can be served hot too. In which case some crispy bacon would be a lovely addition...!

Serves two (or as a starter for four)

3 generous tbsp butter
2 leeks
3 small potatos (or 2 medium sized ones)
1/2 chickenstock
1 sprig of thyme
2 dl cream
pinch of nutmeg
salt, pepper
handful of chopped chives
green apple

Cut the leeks in half and rinse. Peel and cut the potatos into small cubes. Sauté the leeks in butter but make sure they won't get any colour. Then add potatos and the thyme. Cook them for a further minute. Then pour in the chicken stock and simmer until the potatos are done - depending on the size of the size of the cubes 30-35 minutes. Remove the thyme sprig and blizz in a blender. Pour back into the pan, add cream and bring to boil. Season with nutmeg (carefully though - too much and it will taste like soap. Even more and it will get you hospitalized) and salt and pepper. Cool (even until the following day) and serve with chopped chives.

Inspired by the fruitiness of white gazpacho, before serving I like to add into vichyssoise a yellow apple I've pureed in a blender as it lends the soup nice, fresh edge.  Since apples tend to brown quickly, this shouldn't really be done much in advance.

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