The village idiot

One summer in college I worked at a French bistro in Blue Hill, Maine, with my brother. The cook wasn’t the smartest guy. We called him the village idiot, and really, we were being generous. He also hated the French, which made his interpretation and pronunciation of French bistro staples like vichyssoise all that more entertaining. Vichyssoise, normally pronounced VISHeeSWAZ, sounded more like FISHWA, somehow all packed into a loud, violent syllable and a half.

Anyway, more leeks, and I just can’t say vichyssoise without thinking of Ron. Inspired by a soup I had at a certain underground restaurant, a version made with just yellow peppers and served with microgreens, a few clumps of Humboldt Fog and a swirl of reduced balsamic. I meant to serve it cold, but we both actually liked it better hot – take your pick.

Roasted Pepper Vichyssoise

Recipe for Roasted Pepper Vichyssoise
Recipe 130 of 365

Here’s the soup to make if you’re having company and want to celebrate warm weather outdoors if nature plays along, but want the option of having something warming and hearty if it cools off unexpectedly. It’s a low fat soup (I used skim milk), but the potatoes give it a hearty flavor when it’s served hot. Serve as is, or topped with herbs (such as chopped chives) and a sprinkling of blue or goat cheese.

I use the jar of mixed roasted red and yellow peppers available at Trader Joe’s, which gave the soup a gorgeous dark peach color.

TIME: 45 minutes (not all active time)
MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only (about 2 1/2 cups chopped)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (1-pound) russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2” pieces
4 cups chicken broth
1 (12-ounce) jar roasted peppers (red, yellow, or a combination, drained and black parts picked off), roughly chopped
1 cup milk

Heat a large soup pot over medium-low heat. When hot, add the oil, then the leeks, and season with salt and pepper. Cook the leeks, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and the broth, bring the liquid to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are completely soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peppers and the milk, and cook for a few minutes more.

Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. (If you plan to serve the soup cold, it may be easier to let the soup cool a bit before pureeing.) Season to taste with salt and pepper, and either serve hot, or refrigerate and serve cold. (Note: if serving cold, taste the soup again for seasoning when its cold!)

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Filed under recipe, soup, vegetables

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