It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. The Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated earlier than our American neighbour’s equivalent. Living in the northern part of the continent means our harvest also occurs earlier, hence an earlier Thanksgiving.
The markets are brimming with local produce. Although Montréal is a huge metropolitan, just a short drive out and you are sure to hit farmland. There are over 30 000 farms in Québec and our produce is our pride and joy and definitely something to be thankful for. One of the crops that shine at this time of the year are our gigantic leeks. What better way to use them up than by making leek soup?
Leak soup or, as it is often called by its French name, vichyssoise is a simple soup. But as often, with simplicity, this is pure indulgence. It is made of onions, leeks and potatoes simmered in broth, puréed, and then seasoned ever so slightly. It derives a rich, creamy texture from the addition of cream and milk.
The first time I tasted this soup was in a small restaurant specializing in French cuisine in the Malbaie region just north east of Montréal. I still remember how much I liked it. Even more satisfying was being able to recreate it when I got home. Surely not surprising as this really is not a complicated recipe.
Vichyssoise (Leek Soup) (adapted years ago from a recipe in a magazine… but I no longer have the reference)
(yields about 9-12 servings)
- 225 g (about 2 onions) onions coarsely sliced
- 500 g (about 3 medium) leaks, 1 inch slices
- 450 g (about 4 medium) potatoes, coarsely diced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version
- 2 tsp salt
- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups total of milk and cream (divide as you like)
- pepper to taste
- chives for garnishing
- In a large dutch oven (at least 5.4 L), sauté onions and leeks in butter until tender.
- Add potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Let cool about 15 minutes, then purée using an immersion blender.
- You can refrigerate or freeze portions at this point until ready to use.
- When ready to serve, stir in milk and cream until desired consistency is reached. Serve hot or cold. Garnish with chopped chives and freshly ground black pepper.