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Vegan Vichyssoise

Vegan Vichyssoise

I know that the words “comfort food” usually bring to mind gooey baked casseroles or thick hearty biscuit-topped stews–but for me, at this time of year, comfort comes in the way of clean, simple soups that manage to stand up to the weather and my post-holiday state of mind. It’s cold, the days are short, and I neeeeeed comfort, trust me. But after the excess of holiday eating I just don’t feel like anything too heavy.

So here’s a recipe for a vegan potato leek soup that falls somewhere in between. I adapted it from Levana Cooks Dairy-Free (Storey Publishing, 2007) by Levana Kirschenbaum. It’s clearly not in the cabbage-detox soup line of food–but it’s beautifully healthy, if you can handle the starch. And if you happen to be watching your starch, you can use celeriac (celery root) instead. I like to use both potatoes and celeriac, depending on what I have on hand.

One of the great things about this soup is that it tackles the stock problem in a clever way. I, for one, do not always have homemade vegetable stock on hand, and I’m not a huge fan of the taste of commercial stocks. Here, miso paste and wine are used instead to add depth of flavor without relying on vegetable stock. That’s nifty.

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large leeks, dark green trimmed off, washed and finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 large potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup white miso paste
1 sprig fresh tarragon, leaves only, or 1 tablespoon dried
3 cups soy, rice, or nut milk
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup chives, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large heavy po. Add onions, leeks and celery, and saute until translucent.

2. Add potatoes, water, wine, miso and tarragon, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium. Cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.

3. Add “milk” and nutmeg, and heat again, but don’t allow soup to boil. Blend mixture in batches in a covered blender (careful of hot splashing soup as you blend) until completely smooth.

4. Adjust seasoning, add more “milk” if soup is too thick. Garnish with chives.

Serves 12.

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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9:09PM PST on Jan 22, 2013

This sounds great, but I would have trouble finding miso in my area.

12:45AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

This is an interesting variant on the soup I normally make that does not feature wine or milk - thanks a million!

7:09AM PDT on Aug 26, 2011

Yummy! Thanks for sharing.

9:44PM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

Mel I am surprised to see that dry white wine is an ingredient here!

8:49PM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

great collection. How is Irish stew vegan?

5:38PM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

thanks for the tip about using miso paste to substitute stock!

3:50PM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

That actually sounds good. I am not a fan of fish so wouldn't have eaten it in the first place.

7:18AM PDT on May 17, 2010

Very clever using miso and wine. I'm going to add the miso in the end. Its been said that to get the best heath benefits from miso is not to boil it. you are to cook the soup, then pull some of the broth out and dissolve it on a bowl and add back to the soup and turn off the heat. It kills the enzymes in the miso if you cook it.

1:37AM PST on Dec 17, 2009

The first time I made vichyssoise I used cream, but immediately realized that the potatoes themselves made the soup smooth and silky enough. Since then, I've always omitted the cream and just blended potatoes, leeks and stock, though I prefer chicken stock to vegetable stock.

2.5 hdd

4:23AM PST on Dec 15, 2009

Thank you!!! Yum :)

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