Fresh cucumbers and sweet, mellow leeks are the stars in this super savory, chilled Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise soup.
Vichyssoise Soup Recipe
Robert doesn’t like cucumbers on their own, but will eat them mixed in with other foods. I, on the other hand, love cucumbers, so to accommodate him I often experiment, finding new ways to incorporate them into a dish. One day I decided to combine a cucumber soup and Vichyssoise recipe together.
What does Vichyssoise mean in French?
Surprisingly, vichyssoise is not a French word. This chilled soup was created in 1917 by the head chef at the Ritz Carton in New York, and he named it after the French town of Vichy, which was near his home town.
What is Vichyssoise soup?
Vichyssoise is a leek, potato and cream-based puréed soup that is velvety smooth and served chilled. Growing up, I loved the version served at the country club where my family belonged (it’s still on the menu today!). Since Vichyssoise is served cold, adding cold cucumber seemed a natural fit.
Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise Recipe Ingredients
As mentioned above, in creating this recipe I started with the ingredients in a traditional Vichyssoise:
- Water (or chicken broth/stock)
- Milk or cream (I use half and half)
- Chopped chives, for garnish
Based on one of my cucumber soup recipes, I added these ingredients:
- Garlic (or shallots)
- Fresh baby spinach
- Lemon juice
- Ground white pepper
- Sliced radishes, for garnish (along with the chives)
It turns out, these additions add depth to the combined soup’s flavor – garlic adds a bit of a bite, baby spinach earthiness and color, and fresh lemon juice brightens everything up. Finally, thinly sliced radishes add contrasting color and a bit of crunch!
How to Make Vichyssoise Soup
Here are the steps to follow in making this delectable soup:
- Prep ingredients.
Chop the garlic, onion, leeks and spinach. Peel, seed and chop the cucumber (see Tip below) and peel and chop the potato.
- Cook garlic, onion and leeks.
In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic (or shallots), onion and leeks. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and the leeks are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook cucumber, spinach and potato.
In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cucumber, spinach and potato. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
- Combine leek, cream and cucumber mixtures.
Stir leek mixture and half and half into cucumber mixture. Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender in 2 batches and purée until smooth.
- Add lemon juice and seasoning.
Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper.
Cover and chill soup for at least 2 hours, up to 3 days.
Taste soup and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve cold; garnish servings with thinly sliced radishes and chopped chives.
FAQ for Cold Potato Leek Soup
I recommend using russet (or Idaho) potatoes in this Vichyssoise. Russets are higher in starch and therefore break down easier and help thicken the soup. I don’t think you get the right texture with a lower starch potato, like a Yukon Gold or Red.
The main difference is that vichyssoise is served cold, and potato leek soup is served hot. Vichyssoise always calls for milk or cream, and it’s optional in potato leek soup.
Storing Cucumber and Potato Soup (aka Vichyssoise)
Once the soup is prepared, put it in a large sealed container in the refrigerator to chill. Store any leftovers the same way. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.
Serving Chilled Potato and Leek Soup
Serve on a warm summer day paired with one of our main dish salads; here are some suggestions:
- Tuna Salad Niçoise
- Crab and Shrimp Salad with Curry-Chutney Dressing
- Smoked Salmon Chopped Salad
- Grilled Tarragon Chicken with Pasta, Pecans and Spring Greens
- Curried Chicken Pasta Salad
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- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic or shallots
- 1/4 cup (1/4 large) chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cups (2 large) chopped leeks, white and light green parts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (2 large) peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup packed chopped fresh baby spinach
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup half and half
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- Kosher salt
- Ground white pepper
- Garnish: thinly sliced radish, chopped fresh chives
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic (or shallots), onion and leeks. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft and the leeks are just beginning to turn brown. Remove from heat. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cucumber, spinach and potato. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, uncover and cool for 15 minutes.
- Stir in leek mixture and half and half. Purée with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender in 2 batches and purée until smooth. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and ground white pepper.
- Cover and chill for several hours. Adjust seasonings, as needed. Serve cold; garnish servings with thinly sliced radishes and chopped chives.
Gluten free: Use gluten-free chicken stock.
Make ahead: Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.
- Category: Chilled Soups, Gluten Free, Easy Entertaining
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American