I love a good potato soup, and when it’s hot outside cold potato soup, otherwise known as Vichyssoise, tastes so good. In Dina Cheney’s new book The New Milks, she brings together the classic combination of potato and leeks with fennel to make a fantastic tasting soup.
When I tried this recipe, I needed to make some adjustments due to allergies and flavor choices. Even with the tweaks, this is a rewarding recipe.
I normally use soy milk for my soups. This time I chose a recipe that called for cashew milk, something I hadn’t tried. Many of the recipes in this book gave me a new way of thinking how to use different “milks” in my cooking.
I went to work making this recipe and was rewarded with a rich, creamy soup with a depth of flavor. I garnished it with chives and shared it with my friends, who all said the same thing: Amazing.
As mentioned above, I made a few substitutions. In our house, we don’t use flour. I omitted the step of making a roux (butter and fat cooked together and then added to sauces and soups as a thickener). The combination of fennel, leek, and the cashew cream was going to provide enough body to thicken the vichyssoise. I did add the margarine and a little bit of arrowroot at the end to ensure the thickness.
A note about the recipe from the book, the roux was made from butter, making it not vegan, but you can easily make one with margarine and flour. The point is to use some kind of fat and flour.
Here’s the recipe, with the substitutions.
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (here at TVC we use Smart Balance)
- 2 leeks, trimmed, halved, sliced and rinsed (2 cups)
- ½ large fennel bulb trimmed, cored, and coarsely chopped (1 cup)
- 1 starchy medium large potato, such as Idaho or russet, peeled and thinly sliced (2 scant cups)
- 2 ½ cups Vegetable Stock
- 1 tbsp arrow root
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 cup plain cashew milk
- ¼ cup minced chives, fresh
- Melt the vegan butter in a large stockpot (the recipe calls for a dutch oven). Once the butter is melted, add the leeks and fennel, cover and cook until tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add the potato and stir. Add the stock and salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover and reduce the heat to medium low/low. Simmer until the potato is very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Make a slurry out of the arrow root (add two tablespoons water to the arrow root and stir until smooth). Add into the soup mixture and cook for a few extra minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the cashew milk and puree until very smooth, about 45 seconds. Chill until cold.
- Serve, garnished with the chives.
For more great soup recipes see the Kitchen Shaman’s Kindle book