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Pea-and-Parsnip Vichyssoise with Tarragon
© Stephanie Meyer

Pea-and-Parsnip Vichyssoise with Tarragon

  • ACTIVE: 1 HR
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: Makes about 8 cups
  • MAKE-AHEAD

Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures

From the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup to Seinfeld’s inimitable Soup Nazi, the word soup can take on so many nuances that I thought to look it up in the dictionary. I found the following:

  • Alphabet Soup is a term often used to describe a large number of acronyms used by an administration; it has its roots in a common tomato-based soup containing pasta shaped in the letters of the alphabet.
  • Primordial soup is a term used to describe the organic mixture that led to the development of life on earth.
  • A soup kitchen is a place that serves prepared food of any kind to the homeless.
  • Pea soup describes a thick or dense fog.
  • Soup legs is an informal or slang term used by athletes to describe fatigue or exhaustion.
  • “Stone Soup” is a popular children’s fable.
  • Duck soup is a term to describe a task that is particularly easy.
  • Word soup refers to any collection of words that is ostensibly incomprehensible.
  • Soup Fire! can be used as an expression of surprise.
  • Soupe du jour is French for “soup of the day.” Sometimes used as a metaphor for anything currently trendy or fashionable.
  • Soup to nuts is an American-English idiom conveying “from beginning to end” (see: full-course dinner).
  • “Soup’s on!” or “Soup’s up!” is a common phrase used to say that dinner is ready.
  • Soup sandwich is a pejorative US military slang term, typically used to admonish a trooper for poor work or shoddy appearance. The term comes from the concept that a sandwich made out of soup would be a sloppy mess.
  • To soup something up is to improve it, or increase its power (most often used with cars)

It’s so boring to point out that even in warm weather, you can enjoy cold soups that are as refreshing as they are simple to make. Yadda yadda yadda. But true. I make gazpacho every week and keep it in the fridge, and love pureeing cucumber, dill, yogurt, hot chile, lemon juice and celery into a classic Turkish summer soup. But vichyssoise has the sexiest story. The French chef Jules Gouffé created a recipe for a hot potato-and-leek soup, publishing a version in The Royal Cookery Book (1869). Louis Diat, the great chef at New York City’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, claimed to enjoy it as a young child. In 1950, Diat told The New Yorker: “In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato-and-leek soup of my childhood that my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how, during the summer, my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.” I like the idea of a chef making a comforting recipe based on a childhood memory, and experimenting at the customers’ expense.—Andrew Zimmern

  1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup peeled and cubed parsnip
  3. 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  4. 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  5. 1 small onion, chopped
  6. 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  7. 1/3 cup tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  10. 1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  11. Salt
  12. Freshly ground white pepper
  13. One 10-ounce bag frozen sweet baby green peas, thawed
  14. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  15. Fresh lime juice
  16. Snipped chives and small mint leaves, for garnish
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the parsnip, leeks, celery, onion, garlic, tarragon and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and white pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat for 45 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
  2. Add the peas to the pot and simmer until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream.
  3. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Strain the soup through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing on the solids. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the soup and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Season the chilled soup with lime juice, salt and white pepper. Garnish with the chives and mint and serve.
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