I am cheating here. You should know that up front. It is still condiment month around here, but rules that we make for ourselves are made to be broken, right? I could work out a long reason to connect cold potato soup, Memorial Day observances, and condiments, but let’s not. Let’s say that it’s getting hot here — into the 80s (F), and I didn’t feel like any more tests of sweet and sour sauce, which heats up the kitchen cooking and isn’t even a meal when you’re done!
So! Cold soup. I have tried a variety of cold soups over the years (avocado soup, gazpacho) and never been thrilled — I had an excellent gazpacho in Spain, but I’ve never been able to reproduce it. I think missing the Spanish heat, the low latitude sun, the glass of wine, and the cool dark bar might be the problem there! But this is potatoes, my raison de cuisiner, and I thought it would be a great way to supplement the spinach salads that are becoming a staple dinner around here. This is a smooth, velvety soup.
I used the really great run down of vichyssoise at the Cafe Luna site as a starting place. I’ve made the soup dairy-free. It seems like it’s naturally gluten-free, but neither my version nor the inspiration are vegan, as chicken broth seems the common broth choice, and I had homemade broth to use. I think you could use a veggie broth, but I wouldn’t recommend a boxed one, as most are a bit bland, and you’d want to adjust the oil to add more fat for a smoother soup, I think. I’ve made a cashew cream for the milk substitute, as I find it the richest and most neutral milk substitute for cooking. Again, I think you could substitute other non-dairy milks — soy would work fine, I think. If you used almond milk, I’d add a bit of apple cider vinegar, which I often use to “cancel” the sweetness; this might also work for coconut milk. If you used rice milk, make your own with less water and add more olive oil.
I strongly believe in garnish, and I really look forward to trying some of the fancier combinations in the link above. For this iteration, I’ve just used scallions and a sprinkle of dill on top.
- 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces (pieces are cheaper than whole), soaked overnight
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 1 medium onion about baseball sized, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 lbs yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 6 cups chicken stock
- soup toppings of choice
- Drain soaked cashews, and add to blender or food processor with water, olive oil, and salt. Blend until very smooth, then refrigerate.
- Add olive oil to soup pot and heat over medium heat. Add onions to hot oil along with salt. Cook, stirring often, until translucent but not yet browned.
- Add garlic and stir well. Then add potatoes, stir, and add broth. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer until potatoes are falling apart. The time for this will vary depending on the size of your potatoes, but plan 20-40 minutes for the average cubing sizes.
- Remove pot from heat and puree with a stick blender. If you don't have a stick blender, cool the soup and then transfer to a regular blender, carefully, in batches if needed.
- Puree soup until smooth, and then add cashew cream and blend thoroughly.
- Chill until cold, and serve topped with whatever strikes your fancy. The photos here are a sprinkle of dill, a drizzle of cashew cream, and some chopped scallions.
I do think that, in a pinch, vichyssoise might make an interesting sauce on a grain bowl — and therefore would be a condiment? If you try it, let me know!