KITCHEN GARDEN : Cucumber Vichyssoise

They say cool as a cucumber for a reason folks. Vichyssoise, while sounding fancy is the summer equivalent of comfort food. This rendition is for those days when it has been beyond hot for too long and you can’t remember what it felt like to be cold in mid-winter. Prepare this the day before, refridgerating it overnight ensures an especially icy cool.

CUCUMBER VICHYSSOISE serves 4-6 as a main course

Time to Prepare : 3 hours. Ease : Some effort

Prepare the potatoes and leeks

IMG_4616

  • 6 yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 leeks
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

Remove the dark green tops and the rooted bottoms of the leeks. Split each along the length. Then, chop each of the halves into 1/4 inch half moons. Line a large bowl with a colander (or use a salad spinner).

Leeks are grown in very sandy soil and as the leeks grow, the sand can get in between each layer, so if you don’t rinse them well, you’ll end up eating gritty sand.¬†This is not the way to fit in your beach vacation before summer is over, trust me.

Add the split and slivered leeks and while filling the bowl with water, separate all the layers of the leeks (Imagine you are separating and scattering confetti). Once the bowl is full of water and the separated leeks are soaking, prepare the potatoes.

Peel the potatoes and chop into pieces of similar size, aiming for the approximate size of quarters. Consistency in size is what you are after here, this way they cook evenly. If your chop is bigger than mine, it just means it will take a few minutes longer for them to be tender.

Set the potatoes aside.

Drain the leeks and then rinse again. Then drain them thoroughly. Set aside the bowl for later use. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, add your olive oil, bay leaf, and garlic cloves. Once the oil is warm, but not hot or smoking (the garlic cloves will audibly sizzle), add the leeks and saute over medium-high heat until soft, like wilted lettuce (about 4 minutes).

Next, add the chopped potatoes and –

  • 4 c of water
  • 2 Rapunzel boullion cubes
  • 2 inch strip of lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a slight simmer, cook for 45 – 60 minutes, until potatoes are mash-able. Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaf. Mash the potatoes and leeks into a lumpy consistency, let cool completely. Approx two hours.


Prepare the creamy cucumber

  • 4 Persian cucumbers (or one english cucumbe
    r…if all you have is the common american
    cucumber, you will want to peel the skin and remove the seeds). More info on the types of cucumbers here)
    .
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 1 c whole milk greek yogurt at room temperature
  • 2 c half and half
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c minced fresh dill

Chop the cucumber into large chunks (like chunked pineapple). Puree in the blender. In the used leek bowl, add the pureed cucumber and the yogurt. Mix thoroughly and then add the rest of the ingredients, except the dill, combine. In the blender, add a third of the cucumber mix and a third of the potatoes, blend until smooth. Repeat until all has been combined and blended thoroughly. Taste for salt. Stir in the dill. Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Consistency : This soup can thicken as it cools. Before serving, check the consistency. I like it “drinkable.” So if you’d like it thinner, add some half and half or milk. You’ll probably want to add some additional¬†salt, too.

*Some of the proportions for this recipe were taken from the Ritz’s Vichyssoise recipe. If you’re looking for the classic, look no further…recipe here.

 

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