Julia Child called the French vichysoisse, a chilled potato, leek and cream soup, an "American invention." A claim that was been much debated considering the fact that its invention is credited to French chef, Louis Diat, who worked at the Ritz in Manhattan. He came up with the recipe for his famed dish after reflecting on the warm potato and leek soup his mother and grandmother would make in the summer, and how he and his brother would add cream to cool it off, and how delicious the result was. Leeks, fresh cream, and French heirloom recipe turned culinary staple and loved by Americans? I'll have to disagree with Julia here.
To be honest, I've never been a fan of cold "green" soups. Love the "red" ones like gazpacho, watermelon, peach, and for some reason I feel like that's an understandable food emotion. Maybe it has something to do with sugar and savory preferences. But those cucumber and mint type cold soups are seem so refreshing and festive for summer. So after impulsively buying a few baskets of fresh peas at the market, just because they looked so perky and plump, I decided to try and change my own mind about cold soups. And what better way to experiment than incorporating the most famous soup of all, the vichysoisse. This recipe brings together the lightness of the American-esque chilled mint pea soup with the richness of a French vichysoisse.
3 cups shelled peas
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
2 medium sized onions, diced
3-4 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small quarters
3 cups chicken broth (or water with 2 chicken bouillon cubes)
1/2 cup cream (dairy free substitute: coconut cream)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
Handful of mint leaves
Sautée the onions and leeks in the butter. Once they become slightly translucent and soft, slowly add one cup of the chicken broth a few tablespoons at a time, allowing the liquid to absorb fully between each addition. This increases the cooking time and helps extract the sugars to caramelize the onions and leeks. Add a little salt and pepper.
Add the rest of the broth. Add the potatoes and simmer until nearly cooked, for around 10-15 minutes.
Add peas and cooked for another 5-10 minutes, until the peas are soft.
Add mint leaves, cream, vinegar/lemon and purée in batches or with an immersion blender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Allow soup to cool off uncovered, and then cover and store in fridge for a couple of hours or overnight before serving. Or reheat and serve hot.
Garnish with a drizzle of dream and mint sprigs.