Ina Garten's Take On Vichyssoise Soup Adds A Deeper, Roasted Flavor

Despite its French name and inventor, vichyssoise was created in New York's Ritz Carlton Hotel in the 1910s. Chef and inventor Louis Diat modeled the recipe off his mother's humble potato and leek soup. He upgraded the recipe by pureeing the boiled veggies and adding a hearty helping of cream. While vichyssoise soup's simple yet rich formula remains a favorite over a century later, Ina Garten gives it another tasty update.

On an episode of her hit Food Network show "Barefoot Contessa," Garten reveals the secret to a more complex and delicious vichyssoise soup is roasting the main ingredients. Roasting vegetables is the key to instilling depth of flavor by caramelizing their natural sugars, enhancing their underlying flavors, and imparting a smoky char. Garten starts her vichyssoise recipe by roughly chopping the leeks and potatoes into chunks and throwing them together onto a baking sheet.

They're an easy sheet-pan roast that you don't have to worry about overcrowding; simply add the leeks and potatoes to the pan, spreading them out to cover the entire surface, drizzle with olive oil, coat with salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roasting makes the leeks especially sweet and the potatoes especially earthy, not to mention the nice peppery char to supply a sophisticated finish. These sweet, savory, and smoky roasted and pureed leeks and potatoes will stand up to the stock, wine, and cream that comprise their soupy base.

More tips to upgrade vichyssoise soup

Not only does Garten roast leeks and potatoes, she truly makes a sheet-pan recipe out of vichyssoise soup by adding a portion of the soup liquid to the pan of veggies. The warmed cooking liquid loosens all the delicious bits of char and browned potato and leek remnants that stick to the pan. So when you spoon the drenched veggies into the blender, you're ensuring that their full flavor potential is met.

Garten also bolsters her version of vichyssoise soup with arugula for an even more peppery kick. She adds the arugula to the roasting pan along with the leeks and potatoes to wilt for an additional five minutes, demonstrating that no veggie is too delicate to benefit from the caramelizing powers of oven-roasting. Consequently, you can apply Garten's ingenious hack to any type of vichyssoise soup. Try it on this classic chilled vichyssoise soup from Tasting Table, with or without the arugula. Roasting potatoes and leeks with yellow onions and garlic cloves in this version of vichyssoise soup will transform it into an aromatic explosion. You can also roast the asparagus in this chilled asparagus vichyssoise for a more complex springtime soup. To garnish, brighten with a squeeze of lemon juice.