Filling and Refreshing Cold Sweet Potato Vichyssoise
I love soup so I am looking for some interesting cold soups that I can serve on these hot summer days that are both filling and refreshing. I found a great recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Williams-Sonoma’s New Orleans.
What I like about this cookbook besides the wonderful collection of recipes is the photographs and the descriptions of Old New Orleans. It is a mini history book as well as an inspiration for cooking. And a portion of the profits go to help the victims of hurricane.
I wanted to adapt the recipe to make it vegetarian but I didn’t have any Veggie Stock Gold on hand and didn’t have the time or the inclination to make a vegetarian stock on short notice. Veggie Stock Gold is a 20 to 1 classic vegetarian stock made by the same folks who make some of my other favorite stock reductions and demi-glace for sauces. You can learn more about these products and how to use them at www.gatewaygourmet.com.
The recipe calls for using chicken stock but I had some duck stock reduction from these same guys called Glace de Canard Gold also a 20 to 1 reduction but of classic duck stock. It is very similar to chicken stock but has a bit more flavor to it so why not give it a try. I also increased the ingredient amounts to make a little more but I have to warn you, I did not increase the cayenne pepper and everyone thought it was a little too spicy. I liked the extra kick but be careful. I would opt to use less and add more after tasting.
Classic vichyssoise is not made with sweet potatoes (sometimes called yams) but with regular potatoes. I like what they did with this recipe by adding extra color and flavor from the sweet potatoes and ginger. It can be served as a starter but I like it on a hot night with a side of salad for a light refreshing meal. I even had it for breakfast one morning and it was great.
6 cups stock (chicken - vegetarian - duck)
3 good sized sweet potatoes
3 leeks (they usually come in bunches of three)
Freshly ground pepper if you have it but black pepper will work
2 teaspoons fresh ginger - peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper - Warning - read above
1 cup heavy cream,
Chopped basil for garnish (the original called for chives but I had fresh basil on hand so I went with it)
How To Prepare At Home
Have the stock ready to go whether you make it yourself, buy it canned or reconstitute the stuff I like. Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes.
Leeks - You are only going to use the white and tender green parts of the leeks so cut the hairy tip off the root as well as the dark green leafy top which by the way would be a great ingredient for your own veggie stock. Leeks can be full of sand so you want to cut them up into ¼ inch slices, separate the rings and give them a good washing in a colander under cold running water.
Ginger - Peel and grate the ginger. I use a spoon for peeling and my Microplane grater/zester. Works great for these types of jobs.
1) In a pot big enough to hold all these ingredients (I used a 4 ½ quart sauce pot that worked fine), add the stock, sweet potatoes and leeks and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once at a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. When done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool some before attempting the pureeing.
2) Here you can use a blender or food processor and work in batches to puree the potatoes, stock and leeks. I prefer to use my hand blender to minimize the cleanup and avoid the mess from spilling during transfer. Whatever method you use, you want the ingredients to become a smooth puree.
3) Before you finish, add the pepper, cayenne and ginger and puree some more. If you used a blender or food processor, pour the soup into a large bowl and let cool. Since I used a hand blender, I just left everything in the pot.
4) Once the soup becomes lukewarm, add the heavy cream and stir to mix well. Here's a good time to taste and adjust the seasoning with a little salt and I can almost guarantee it will need salt to boost the flavor.
5) Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until the soup is well chilled. This soup will last in the refrigerator for a couple of days and get better each day. When ready to serve, taste again to adjust seasonings and garnish with a little chopped basil on top.
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