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Inspired by the Olympics – The Lowly Potato Will Keep You Cool

August 6, 2012

Inspired by the Olympics   – The Lowly Potato Will Keep You Cool 


When you see athletes at the Olympics who come from behind and claim a medal unexpectedly makes Jilly, (who is not an Olympic athlete, never has been, but sometimes thinks of herself as worthy of gold in the kitchen), think of the lowly potato. Give it a chance, give it a little class, and you have Vichyssoise – a cool, and cooling, leak and potato soup, perfect for another hot day ahead. Make this late in the evening with a glass of wine – for the cook, that is – or early in the AM, then let cool for the day and enjoy on your patio or deck in the evening while you do a mosquito count. 

Ooops  – slipped off topic there, but with all the rains of late, the little pests are all over. Hint – citronella candles will take care of that.

Jilly and Bobby are off to the Heritage Festival, where, one more time, Jilly is searching for her Canadian identity, among no less than 82 cultures being represented – what’s a home grown Canadian girl to do? It’s too hot to wear a kilt, a reflection of some of her forebears. All she knows is that the humble potato was grown on some parts of her farmland a long time ago and never knew then what she knows now – how to class up the potato. She’s just looking forward to coming home to some really cool soup. Here’s to the spud – dressed up. 

You will need:

3 medium-sized leeks – white part only, chopped fine

I medium sliced white or yellow onion (Bermuda onions are the sweetest – Jilly knows – she lived in Bermuda for a time. Bermudians revere their onion.)

4 medium sized potatoes cut fine, fresh from the farmer’s market – available now

Butter for sauté

½ litre chicken stock

1 c. cream – if you really want to be decadent, find this too at the farmer’s market. There’s NOTHING like local fresh cream, will add such a richness to the soup.

1/3 tsp mace – why mace? It just adds that Je ne sais pas to the overall flavouring. Someone get back to me on this, would you?

Salt and pepper to taste (Jilly has discovered some amazing salt and pepper grinders at Costco for just a few dollars. Go – check them out while they last! Nothing beats the added flavour of freshly ground pepper and sea salt in any recipe. Guaranteed!)

Chopped chives – these come from Jilly’s (wee tiny) garden – most of which has been hammered by the rains of late, but the chives survived. They will survive through anything.

Finely sliced English cucumber

OK – if you like – just one clove of garlic – mashed fine. 

Dead easy to make:

Boil potatoes then drain and rinse well. To rinse well means to get rid of a layer of starch and will help renew the flavour of the potatoes.

Sauté onions and chopped leak with a dab of butter in a large frying pan or stock pot.

Add chicken stock, salt and pepper, mace, garlic, and then cream.

Simmer and cover for ~ 15 minutes or until tender and all flavours meld.

We don’t sit on the stove for nothing – a party has to happen with all these summer root dudes who are going to come out in a class act! 

Here’s the trick:

Now, you have to rapidly cool the above ingredients to then put through a food processor or blender.

So –

Pour the mixture into a large bowl that will fit into a larger bowl.

Put a tray of ice cubes in the larger bowl and place the bowl with the ingredients so that it sits on the ice in the larger bowl.

Put the larger bowl in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes. You will soon have some very cool soup.

To refine further – process the cooled soup in a food processor or blender so that it’s very fine. (You do not want to process hot soup as it will simply splatter all over your kitchen and that wouldn’t be very cool at all. Jilly knows – been there –  oh ya.)

Chill again at this point until you intend to serve – at least a couple of hours. This soup will keep all day, even to the next day.

When serving, simply add some chopped chives, fresh from the garden and/or finely sliced, decorative cucumber around the edge.


And so cooling, yet full of nutrition and flavour.

Go back to step one – more wine for the cook – and guests.

From Jilly’s kitchen to yours!



From → Recipes

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