The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Smart Wife’s leek and potato soup recipe (vichyssoise)

vichyssoise soupEven though the room was dark, the rustle from the bed indicated that Danny was awake. I shot in, spoon in hand.
“I think that I’ve finally got the vichyssoise right! I just need you to taste it.”
“But I’ve just cleaned my teeth.”
Danny tasted it anyway, gave it the thumbs up and fell asleep.

Years ago Smart Wife taught me how to make vichyssoise. I made gallons of the stuff and we would drink it throughout the long hot Chelsea summers. This was Smart Wife’s favourite soup and I must admit I never tired of it.

Not having made the recipe for 25 years, I was a bit hazy as to the exact proportions of the ingredients. All that I was certain about was that the soup was made with chicken stock, onions, leeks and potatoes. So I laid out the ingredients on the kitchen table and pretended that I was back in the little galley kitchen.

This method magically produced an excellent soup! Perhaps Smart Wife was directing me from that great kitchen in the sky. The only ingredients that I have added are the lemon juice and rape seed oil. I am trying to cut down on our salt intake and have discovered that lemon juice is often a better alternative to enhance flavours. Smart Wife just used butter to sauté the onions. I used a combination of a light rape seed oil and butter.

This soup is superb. We have tried it hot with a swirl of cream and chilled with a swirl of cream. If it was summer, I would add the cream to the soup and leave it in a big bowl in the fridge.

Smart Wife’s leek and potato soup recipe (vichyssoise)


  • 200g of finely sliced onions
  • 500g of prepared leeks (tops discarded, washed and sliced fine)
  • 300g of potatoes (peeled and sliced)
  • 2 pts of hot chicken stock (I used 2 Knorr cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons of light rape seed oil
  • 15g Butter
  • 284ml Single cream


  1. Heat the rape seed oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onions. Stir to coat the onions in the oil and sweat over a low heat (lid on) for fifteen minutes.
  2. Add the leeks and the butter cut into small pieces. Stir the leeks and onions and leeks together and sweat over a gentle heat for about ten minutes (lid on.) Stir every now and then to distribute the melting butter.
  3. Add the chicken stock and potatoes. Bring slowly to the boil and simmer the vegetables until tender (about 20 minutes).
  4. Add the lemon juice and liquidise the soup. I used a hand held blender.
  5. Serve with a swirl of single cream and a sprinkle of parsley. If you just want to eat this soup cold, add the cream when the soup has cooled and store in the fridge. It will keep for a couple of days. If you are planning to freeze the soup, leave out the cream and add some when you are going to serve the soup.

  Leave a reply


  1. Andy Knott

    Hi Fiona
    You specify 284ml of cream (quite a lot!). Am I right in thinking that this is all for the “swirl of cream” when serving, and not actually a cooked ingredient? Nice website, by the way.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sheila

    The twist of adding the cheesy croutons sounds superb!

    I eat this soup chilled. D prefers it hot unless it’s a blisteringly hot day. I must try the croutons next time that I make the soup for him. Thanks.

  3. I made it and it was brilliant. I hope it’s not heresy but as we wanted something a bit heartier for supper I grated good cheddar generously onto nice thick slices of bread and grilled them for 5 minutes then served the soup in wide bowls with the cheesy ‘croutons’ on top. It went down extremely well with an M&S Macon Villages and highlights of our stunning 4-4 draw with Chelsea!

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sheila

    I made this soup on Sunday and have been eating it for lunch every day. Delicate and delicious, I never tire of it.

    Hope it works out for you.

  5. Hi- Just stumbled on this while searching for soup recipes. I’ve just rediscovered the enjoyment of cooking after years of cooking for an unappreciative ex-husband my kids have left home and my new husband and I love cooking together. Just joined a veg box scheme too. I’ll try this tonight and let you know how it goes…Thanks

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Ann

    We have the prospect of summer to come!

    I do hope that the soup tastes as delicious down under as it does in the cottage.

  7. Summer in Australia is over now and I’m turning my thoughts to soup recipes.
    I bought two leeks this morning and thought I’d check on a new recipe for it. Glad I did. I’ll try the lemon idea as I’m on salt free diet.
    Thank you for an entertaining few minutes reading all the comments. It’s a small world.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Harry

    I love this soup too. In fact I’m going to make some today!

    Good luck with your GCSE practical!

    There’s nothing quite like cooking when you’re in the mood.

  9. i love this soup so much i make it all the time and im even gonna cook it tmoz in my GCSE practical im only 16 and i love cooking i have been told im the next gordan ramsay and i totally agree with them im the best cook around. look out for me in the future my name is ??????? only joking it is harry simpson

    p.s i loooooooooooove cooking its my favorite

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Deborah

    I love this soup too. It’s my favourite soup!

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