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Potato Leek Soup, or Vichyssoise, with Truffle and Gruyere Added

Truffle-Gruyere Vichyssoise

Truffle-Gruyere Vichyssoise

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Vichyssoise is the French term for a Potato-Leek soup. A French Bistro staple, it is often served cold in the summers. Given that it’s winter + cold and rainy in Portland, I really wanted to warm up the soup and add in some decadence.

I’ve had Potato-Leek soup before, and you probably have too. But I experienced a version once that was so magical, it inspired me to want to find a recipe at home that was just as good. If you’re interested, the restaurant is in Walla Walla Washington, and it is called Brasserie Four. Eating at Brasserie is a real treat and I highly recommend it the next time you find yourself out wine-tasting in that part of the country.

The first time I made a standard Vichyssoise, the recipe called for russets and that’s what I used. A lot of traditional recipes insist on russets, but frankly, I didn’t like them. Given their very high starch content, they can make the soup almost gummy – particularly if it is vigorously pureed. In my opinion, a waxy-style, low-starch potato such as reds or even Yukon Golds (medium starch) will result in a silker soup.     

Because we advocate for seasonal eating, I also wanted to throw in a superstar winter vegetable many folks are not familiar with. Celeriac, or celery root, is a root vegetable prized for its large bulb. Despite its name, it is related to turnips, not celery. It has a mild celery flavor, with the consistency more of a sweet potato (far denser than a standard potato, and harder to cut through.) Celeriac contains a considerable amount of potassium, a mineral that helps in preventing hypertension by regulating your blood pressure – perfect for stressful days. It also contains high amounts of vitamin K and phosphorus, which help in bone metabolism and the prevention of osteoporosis. This is pretty complementary to the amount of dairy/calcium in this recipe!

Although it looks intimidating from the outside, celery root’s tough exterior can be easily peeled using a serrated knife. Trim any knobby roots remaining and you’re ready to cook! Celery root browns quickly, like an avocado, so be sure to cut it only right before you’re ready to cook. Otherwise it can color your soup brown.

I got my potatoes, leeks and celeriac from our Winter CSA at Stoneboat Farms. I highly recommend CSA’s, especially for families. They are economical and fresh, better-than-organic seasonal produce! If you aren’t familiar with it, a CSA is a weekly “direct to consumer” pickup program for veggies – you get them directly from the farm, no grocery store middleman needed. 🙂

Potato-Leek soup all by itself is delicious, but what could we do to just elevate it a little bit – make it a real treat while keeping it as healing as it is cozy? In the end, I added two of my favorite winter flavors: truffle and gruyere.

I realize truffle is expensive, and can be difficult to get. A little of this earthy flavor goes a long way. Truffle oil is available in most grocery stores. New Seasons here in Portland carries house-made truffle butter in the autumn and winter – I unabashedly put it on and in EVERYTHING. That is what is used in this recipe. If you just can’t get your hands on anything truffley, however, don’t fret. It’s just as good with an extra 1/4 cup of gruyere and some nice salted butter.

And speaking of decadence: Not all richness comes from fat. Fresh herbs have an unbelievable ability to transform a dish into a magical culinary treat. My absolute favorites in this bowl are fresh tarragon, chives, and dill. As you can see from the photos, I’m not shy about these herbs. So don’t bother sprinkling. Instead, pile them high in the middle of the bowl. They add zero calories but a magical complexity of flavor, as well as anti-inflammatory and digestive aid properties. Herbs aren’t just garnishes. They’re nutritious!

Although this soup sounds and looks extremely decadent, it still comes out to just over 300 calories a bowl when split into 6 servings. It’s extremely filling all by itself, but you could certainly amp up the protein a bit with some shredded chicken stirred in.

Truffle Gruyere Vichyssoise

Overall, this is just an elevated, elegant Vichyssoise. It’s not going to make you feel bloated with too much dairy fat. It’s wholesome, comforting, and the perfect thing to curl up with on the couch after a long day of work. Make it over the weekend and chop up plenty of fresh herbs to use for future servings. It’s so easy to reheat and re-assemble on work nights.

If you like, pair it with a full-bodied, autumney white (my favorite is Viognier or lightly oaked Washington Chardonnay) or a young, bright Tempranillo. I’ve included my favorites pictured here: A beautiful Chardonnay from Aluve or Saviah Cellars. Saviah also makes a stellar Viognier that would pair beautifully with this. We just happened to drink our bottle with Thanksgiving. 🙂 You can get great Tempranillo’s from Castillo de Feliciana. All three wineries are out of the Walla Walla area.

Truffle Gruyere Vichyssoise




Truffle-Gruyere Vichyssoise

Potato Leek Soup, or Vichyssoise, with Truffle and Gruyere Added


2T salted butter
2 large garlic cloves
3 leeks, white and very light green parts only
1 lb red potatoes, about 3 medium
1/2 small celeriac (celery root)
3 cups whole milk, divided
2 cups homemade or organic chicken bone broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup finely shredded gruyere
2 T truffle butter, or 1 T truffle oil
3-4 tsp fine salt such as Diamond Crystal
3 T heavy cream for drizzling
Fresh herbs, chopped (aim for at least 3): Tarragon, Chives, Dill, Parsley
Freshly-ground black pepper and/or cayenne pepper, to taste
Homemade or artisan torn bread croutons (or broken-apart baguette toasts)


Prepare the leeks: Cut the root and dark green parts of the leeks off, then the remaining part in half lengthwise. Wash outer 3-4 rings under running water, separating if necessary to check for dirt. Cut crosswise into thin strips. (If desired, store clean dark green parts in freezer for future broth.)
Prepare the celeriac: Peel tough exterior of celeriac using serrated knife. Celeriac is very dense, so cut off 1/2″ slices one at a time and dice each slice into 1/2″ cubes until you have 1 cup of diced celeriac. Discard or freeze the remainder.
Prepare potatoes/garlic: Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/2″ cubes. Cut off each end of garlic cloves, then smash with broad side of large knife and remove skin.
Heat large stockpot over medium heat. Add butter, then leeks and garlic. Saute, stirring regularly until leeks are sweated and translucent – about 5 minutes.
Add celery root and saute another 3 minutes.
Add 2 cups broth + 2 cups whole milk and bring almost to a boil over high heat. As soon as liquid begins to boil at the edges, add potatoes, dried herbs (thyme & tarragon) and final 1 cup whole milk, stir well, cover and bring just to boil again.
Uncover, reduce heat until the mixture is simmering/bubbling gently but not seriously boiling. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring and checking every so often, until celery root is completely tender when pierced with a fork.
Turn off heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup very well until no chunks are left.
Stir in the truffle butter or oil and shredded gruyere, whisking constantly until well combined/melted.
Add 2 tsp of salt, plus cayenne and black pepper if desired. Taste and continue adding salt 1/2 tsp at a time until desired seasoning is reached, approx 4 tsp of diamond crystal or 3 tsp of other salt.
Ladle into bowls. Drizzle 1/2 T heavy cream in each, then top each bowl with a very generous fresh-herb bouquet in the center (see pictures). Tarragon and chives in particular complement this dish beautifully.
Garnish bowls with croutons or serve them alongside if desired. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate unused servings for up to one week.

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories 320
Protein 12g
Carbs 27g
Fiber 2.5g
Fat 18g
Dinner In Provence
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