Friday, November 19, 2010

Purple Peru Potato Vichyssoise

     The first place I made Vichyssoise was in a great Northern Italian restaurant as a garde manger chef.  We had two chilled soups on the menu.  The other soup was a chilled cucumber dill soup.  Of course the vichyssoise was made with Russet Potatoes at that restaurant and it was garnished with fresh chives.  I thought that the purple color of these Peruvian potatoes would be a nice contrast in color.  This is a delicate, pretty version of classic vichyssoise!
     Recipe:  Boil about 6 to 8 whole purple potatoes in water.  (Purple potatoes are small in size.  Leave the skins on so the deep purple color is retained!) 
     When the potatoes are cooked tender, cool them under running cold water. 
     Remove the potato skin from each potato by scraping with a paring knife.  (Peeling after cooking is easier with this kind of potato.) 
     Set the cooked, peeled potatoes aside.
     Finely mince the white part of a leek. 
     Heat about 2 to 3 pats of unsalted butter in a sauce pot over low heat. 
     Add the leeks. 
     Sweat the minced leeks gently and do not brown them at all. 
     Sweat the leeks till they are very soft.
     Add about 1 1/2 cups of water.
     Simmer the leeks over medium heat. 
     Add a bouquet garni.  (I used rosemary, bay leaf and thyme in my bouquet garni.) 
     Add sea salt and white pepper. 
     Simmer till the herbs have infused with the leek soup stock. 
     Remove the bouquet garni.
     Add the cooked and peeled purple potatoes. 
     Whisk the soup till it is a smooth puree of potato and leek.
     Reduce the temperature to medium/medium low heat. 
     Add about 1 cup of creme fraiche.  (Creme fraiche is half soured fresh cream.  Just mix cream and sour cream together to make a quick creme fraiche.) 
     Heat the puree and creme fraiche together but do not let the soup boil. 
     If the soup is too thick, then thin it with milk.
     Pour a little of the soup at a time into a fine sieve. 
     Press the soup with a spatula through the fine sieve into a bowl. 
     The strained pureed vichyssoise should be a light medium consistency. 
     Chill the soup to just below room temperature. 
     Pour the chilled vichyssoise into a shallow soup bowl. 
     Garnish with watercress leaves.
     This lavender colored vichyssoise is so pretty!  The flavor is the same as a classic old fashioned vichyssoise, but the purple color makes this soup very interesting to look at. 
     Some people just puree vichyssoise in a blender.  You can see in the pictures that the silky smooth classic texture is far better in my old fashioned sieve strained vichyssoise recipe. 
     The flavor is classic French leek and potato.  A slight hint of the bouquet garni flavor broadens the soups flavor.  Creme fraiche is part of the classic recipe and is far better than plain cream.  Chives are the classic garnish but the peppery flavor of the watercress garnish is perfect with potato and leeks.  Vichyssoise is a classic summer soup that is even more appealing when it is made with purple potatoes.  I love the pretty color!  Yum! ... Shawna

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