Sunday, May 11, 2008

Vichyssoise with Zucchini and Brown Rice

Vichyssoise is a pureed soup, traditionally of leeks and potato, served cold with cream. There are two great stories of how this soup was created, one giving credit to an American chef, the other a French chef. Either way, it is a great soup. A lot of less traditional recipes (like this one) also suggest serving the soup warm; it is really a versatile soup. I have made a roasted red pepper version, which is fantastic, and I have found recipes for carrot versions, and purple potato.

In addition to tasting great, Greg and I love this soup because it is wonderfully healthy and inexpensive. We have played with the recipe for about a year, changing what onion to use, type of potato, ratio of zucchini to potato, etc, and right now we are at a great base. We have found that red onion and Yukon gold potato's make a less flavorful soup, and it is really important to add a bit of milk to the soup while cooking to get it to thicken. Greg's main complaint about the soup was that he still felt hungry after eating a big bowl, so we added brown rice. The rice changes the texture, but the flavor is still great and it is much more filling. With the rice added, I think the soup is better warm than cold. It almost turns it into a comfort food.

Just last night, Greg said that the next time we make this soup it would be fun to try leaving some chunky vegetables in. I'm not sure if this would still be a Vichyssoise, then =). I also would like to try adding wild rice, instead of brown. Now that the farmers market is open, and produce is super cheap there, it will be fun to re-make the roasted red pepper, and maybe try the purple potato version.


4-5 C. each of chopped zucchini and red skin potato (skins on both)
2 medium vadalia onions, chopped
4 TBS butter
Olive oil as needed
Chicken stock (up to 2 quarts)
Milk (about a 1/4-1/2 C.)
1 TBS parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/8 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried sage or thyme (i've tried using both, and it gets a bit overwhelming, but either alone is fine)
-3 C. brown rice (should end up with 6 cooked cups)

-Brown butter in a stock pot. Add herbs and onion, stir until the onion is coated and turn heat down to medium low. Cover and let sit until the onion is see-through and soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add chopped zucchini and potato. Mix in with the onion well. If you need to add some olive oil to coat them, do so now.
-Add chicken stock until you can just see it through the vegetables.
-Add the milk until it is just covering the vegetables. Add the parmesan at this point. Stir to incorporate everything.
-Bring to a boil (the milk foam will rise, so beware!)
-Once to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30-45 minutes, until veggies are soft.

-While veggies are cooking, cook brown rice as package directs. Instant brown works fine, too. Set aside when done cooking.

If you have a wand or stick blender, you are in luck. Blend until smooth and creamy.
If you don't have a wand or stick blender, pour the soup into a stand blender or food processor (could take a few trips) and blend until smooth.

-Once soup is creamy, add the rice. Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese and some black pepper.