The Cottage Smallholder

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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. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Andy

    When I make this in the summer I add all the cream to the soup and the bowl stands in the fridge to be savoured for lunch over the next few days.

    The soup is quite good without the cream but it is far richer (and more delicious) with all the cream added 🙂

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