Cream of Potato Leek Soup (Vichyssoise)

This recipe can be made in early summer or late fall or winter, using baby leeks and new potatoes or fall leeks and potatoes.

1 large or 2 medium leeks or one bunch of baby leeks, cleaned and chopped
2 tbls butter
¾ pound potatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
Several sprigs of thyme (optional)
¾ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced chives or parsley or green onion tops for garnish (optional)

How to clean and chop leeks: cut off the little tuft of roots and discard, then chop as far up the stalk as you can until you get to a leaf. Pull off the leaf and chop up to the next leaf and so on until there’s no stalk left. As you pull off each leaf you will probably need to rinse off any soil or grit that you expose.

Sauté leeks in butter until soft. Add potatoes and broth, bring to a boil and skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top. Add optional thyme and simmer until potatoes are soft. Discard thyme, let soup cool slightly. Puree with either a handheld blender or in a blender with center part of cover removed to let steam escape. Stir in cream, salt and pepper to taste and either serve hot with optional garnish, or chill in refrigerator for at least four hours and serve cold with optional garnish. Serves 2-4.