This is Christmas Day and we went to Tai Pan in Palo Alto for dim sum. They do an excellent dim sum for Christmas (but make your reservation well in advance, we almost waited too long). With all of that rich food, we knew that we would want something simple for dinner.
I decided that I would make a potato, leek and chicken soup. Vichyssoise is a fancy name for a potato and leek soup that can be served either hot or cold. Not one to leave well enough alone, I use it as a base for other soups. Today, I am adding chicken.
¾ lb. chicken thighs
2 Tbs. butter
1 onion, chopped
2 large leeks, chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
5 Yukon gold potatoes, diced
3 can chicken broth, low sodium
½ tsp. white pepper (to taste)
¼ tsp. Kosher salt (to taste)
¼ cup cream
1. Prep the vegetables. Trim and chop the onion, leeks and garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes.
2. Using a large soup pot, sauté the chicken thighs in the butter until well browned on both sides. Remove the thighs to a bowl.
3. Scrap most of the fond loose from the bottom of the pot and reserve it with the chicken.
4. Without cleaning the pot any further add the onions and sauté until they are just translucent.
Tip: You do not want your onions to brown too much for this dish.
5. Add the leeks and continue sautéing until they are limp, about another 5 minutes.
Tip: There is a debate about whether you should use the entire leek in making this soup. Using the white part only gives you a white, attractive soup. If you like a rustic soup, you may use the green parts of the leek as well and leave the peels on the potatoes.
6. Pull the vegetables to the edges and add the garlic to the hole in the center, sauté the garlic for one minute, until fragrant. Stir in the rest of the vegetables.
7. Add the chicken broth and the potatoes to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
8. When the potatoes are starting to break apart, blend the soup. If necessary return the soup to the pot.
Tip: For a smooth soup use a standing blender and process the mixture in batches. I prefer to use an immersion blender and only partially process the soup. The remaining chunks of potato and leeks give the soup a more interesting texture.
9. Cut the chicken thighs into small, bite sized pieces and add it to the soup.
10. Add pepper and salt to taste and heat the soup for five to ten minutes more to finish cooking and meld the flavors.
11. Stir in the cream and serve garnished with flat-leafed parsley.
Tip: I add very little cream to my soup, because of Jan’s dietary restrictions. People without this restriction may choose to eliminate some of the chicken broth and replace it with cream. If you do this, do not let the soup come to a boil after adding the cream.