Vichyssoise with a Twist

Makes about 12 cups (3 quarts)

This recipe is a variation of one from Food & Wine magazine and can easily be cut in half depending on how many folks you are serving and the portion for each person. I made it ahead of time and took it to enjoy at a friend’s cabin as a first course. It was easy to transport in a small cooler along side the frozen shrimp, cocktail sauce, and bloody mary mixer we also enjoyed that weekend.

2 large (10-ounces) leeks
2 -3 garlic cloves, or to taste, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ cup unsalted butter (2 ounces)
4 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup water, or as needed
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, ends removed and chopped
1 ripe avocado
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Garnishes – you’ve got options
Minced fresh chives
Chopped fresh parsley
Chopped fresh dill fronds
Garlic croutons
Shaved pecorino Romano cheese

Trim and discard root ends and the dark green tops, reserving the white and light green parts of the leeks. Cut leeks in half lengthwise, then cut into ¼-inch slices. Add them to a large bowl of cold water swishing them around to dislodge any dirt that may be lurking inside the leaves. Carefully lift the leek slices out of the water, leaving the grit behind. (You should have about 7 cups sliced leeks.)

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt, cook, stirring often, until leeks are softened but have not caramelized, about 7 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook until softened, about another minute.

Add broth, potatoes, and water to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are almost tender, about 25 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and continue to cook. Peel and chop avocado, add to leek mixture. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until potatoes and zucchini are tender. Remove from heat and add grated nutmeg (if using) and allow to cool about 10 – 15 minutes.

Working in batches, ladle the leek mixture into a blender. Place lid on blender leaving a bit of a gap to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over the lid and process each batch until completely smooth.

Transfer puréed soup to a heatproof bowl and add the cream. Refrigerate, uncovered, until completely cold, then transfer to lidded containers and continue refrigerating at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, remove soup from refrigerator. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle desired amount evenly among bowls. Garnish with any of the suggestions.

Make Ahead 
Any remaining soup can be frozen for a month. The day prior to serving, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Add a bit of cream or cold water to the desired consistency and serve.

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