January 9, 2013 by caitlinvaclark
I had been craving one of my favorite, super simple yet stunning, soups and wanted to make it as the starter for the small dinner party I had on Friday night. I figured this would be a great way to warm everyone up and be able to keep the main meal on the lighter side.
The idea for this soup came from when Chris and I were first dating. We went to Las Vegas for a few days, during which, most certainly over too many margaritas (they should not let you walk the streets with cocktails there), we joked about running into one of the tacky chapels getting married. Who’d have guessed that 5 years later, we actually would?! Not us!
Anyways, back to my soup. We were having dinner at Mon Ami Gabi, a french steak house in the Paris Hotel, and we ordered a hot vichyssoise soup as a starter. It was delicious and anything but ordinary old potatoes and leeks. They served it table side, pouring the thin soup into a bowl that had a ripe and creamy slice of brie cheese in the base. As the cheese melted into the soup, a richness developed that elevated the soup to an unheard of level.
Turns out, by the next year, when we moved to Washington, DC, Mon Ami Gabi had expanded into a small chain, with a branch in Bethesda. Chris and I went for dinner that fall, eager to get another bowl of soup. Unfortunately, they had taken it off the menu!?! Good thing their steak frites are tasty, so we stayed. And never fear, I recreated the dish myself!
I’ve made this soup a few times now, and thought it would be the perfect starter for entertaining on Friday. The only issue was that I didn’t have a blender, and the whole point of this soup is how smooth, thin, and creamy it is even before it melts the brie. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I ordered an electric hand blender that was guaranteed for delivery by Friday evening. I figured I could just get the soup cooked and as soon as it arrived, blend it up and serve!
I got a text fro the dispatch company saying they would be delivering between 3:30 and 4:30. Perfect. I started to sauté the leeks in butter, being careful not to brown either the butter or the leeks.
Once they were soft I added the potatoes and the seasoning, poured in the vegetable stock, and simmered away. It was after 4:30 by this point. No knock at my door. They had to be here soon right?!
15 minutes later, my soup was ready to be blended. But there was no blender in sight. Uh oh. I turned it off the heat and did not fret. It would only take a few minutes. Sometimes the delivery guys were late. But by 6, I was a bit concerned… I checked the online status and what do you know, it said the package was delivered at 3:27?? Perhaps it was in the upstairs mailroom and someone else had signed for it. (We have a private entrance.)
Nope. Not there. I placed a hopeless call to dispatch. It was after hours on a Friday so clearly no one answered. Now I was preparing a backup plan. I pulled out some salami, toasted some french bread, and put out a jar of Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Tampenade. I think it’s very important to have spreads and snacks on hand, just in case. Chris and I got this one when we stopped at Viansa Winery on our drive into Sonoma for the tail end of our honeymoon.
So dinner went on without the soup. It still ended up being a great night… But I’m sure you are all dying to know what happened to my blender!? Turns out, the next morning, our upstairs neighbor knocked on our door, and, thinking she was a hero, presented the package that she had so graciously signed for. (The day before at 3:27pm.)
No problem. I set about making the soup for a nice Saturday lunch. The blender worked great, creaming the soup beautifully.
After making sure the soup was very hot, I carefully poured it over the brie. A dash of white pepper. Perfect. Just as I remembered…
Until about our third bite, when each of us found something chewy. Hmm, the brie definitely melted properly… Uh oh.
I threw in the towel and we went out for lunch. But I promise this recipe is delicious. Just make sure you have the right equipment and be aware of all warning signs!
Potato & Leek Soup with Brie
2 Tbs. butter
2 lbs. russet or gold potatoes, peeled and small diced
5 ½ cups vegetable broth
¾ tsp coarse salt
¼ tsp white pepper, plus more to finish
6 thin slices of brie cheese
Thinly slice the leeks, both the white and up to2 inches of the green, stopping before the leek gets tough.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Melt butter and add the leeks. Cook for 5 minutes before reducing the heat to medium-low and continuing to cook until very soft, about 8 more minutes.
Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
Prepare your soup bowls by placing a brie slice in the base of each bowl.
Using a hand blender (or pouring the soup in batches into a blender), puree the soup until there are no lumps and it is very smooth and creamy.
Reheat the soup if necessary, bringing it back to a simmer. Once very hot, ladle the soup into each prepared bowl. Garnish with a dash of white pepper. Serve immediately.