Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Vichyssoise

"This is an adopted recipe that I have not yet tried. The original chef comments: "I grew up on this wonderful cold soup, and when my Grandmother passed away, the recipe went with her, until I got Anthony Bourdain's wonderful cookbook, "Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook". This is so close to the Vichyssoise I loved, and you will too!""
photo by Lauren M. photo by Lauren M.
photo by Lauren M.
photo by LydiaWilder photo by LydiaWilder
Ready In:
1hr 20mins




  • I a large, heavy bottom pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, add the leeks and sweat for 5 minutes, making sure they do not take on any color.
  • Add potatoes and cook for a minute or two, stirring a few times.
  • Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook on low heat, gently simmering for 35 minutes, or until the leeks and potatoes are very soft. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • Slowly, and in SMALL batches, puree the soup at a high speed in the blender. Do this bit by bit, never filling the blender too high. Make sure the benders lid is on, and lean on the top when you turn on. If not the burn you will get is awful, and a most frequent accident in even professional kitchens.
  • Return soup to the cooking pot and whisk in cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Return to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes. If you want to thin soup out, add more broth, if needed.
  • Transfer soup to the mixing bowl an chill over the ice bath, stirring occasionally. When soup is at Room temperature, and only at room temperature, cover in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator to cool.
  • Check seasoning, sprinkle with chives and serve in chilled bowls.
  • This soup DOES get better over time. Keep covered with plastic, not foil in the refrigerator, or it will pick up other tastes.

Questions & Replies

  1. Exactly what amount are 8 leeks? Leeks are various sizes. Do I need a more precise measurement to make the recipe. For example, small, medium or large size leeks for better yet. 1 cup or 2 cups, etc. would help very much. Thank you. I’m looking forward to making this recipe. Linda Walker
  2. What kind of potato is recommended?


  1. I made this with half and half instead of heavy cream for the obvious reason and it was simply supurb! I also appreciated the advice about the blender as I experienced this "mishap" with another soup. I added white pepper as I love the flavor but no other changes. This will be a stadard, especially when the chives pop up in my garden in the spring. Fantastic!
  2. Great Recipe. Leaning down on the blender lid is not a sure fire way to prevent burns. The reason why it spurts up is because the hot soup atomizes and turns very quickly into steam, spiking the pressure. The best way deal with this is to take the center 'hole' part out of the blender lid, so pressure can flow out, loosely bunch up a clean kitchen towel, and hold that over the hole. Make sure it goes all the way around the hole so no soup can come out, but make sure it is on there loosely enough to not cork in the pressure.
  3. Lots of people know not to blend hot liquids in a blender, but not everyone knows why - except that you'll burn the hell out of yourself. The reason is that the blender blends everything inside of it together so hard, so fast, and so thoroughly that if you're starting with anything liquid, it almost instantly gets turned into sort of a foam, as all the air and all of the liquid in the container become one over the space of about a half of a second. The thing is, not only does all of that air get mixed in with the liquid -- over the course of that same half second it takes for that to happen, every bit of that air also becomes EXACTLY THE SAME TEMPERATURE as the liquid. In the case of hot vichyssoise, that's often around 200 degrees. The rest is simple chemistry: Because air that hot takes up more space than air at room temperature, the second you turn the blender on, your two cups of steaming vichysoisse stay the same, but the 3 cups of air in your blender instantly turn into about 3 3/4 cups -- easily enough to instantly blow the blender's lid off -- and, in this case, blast scalding vichyssoise all over you and your kitchen. Most everyone who has this experience only does it once. For those who learned the lesson making something that sticks to the skin as well as 200 degree Vichysoisse (as did I), they NEVER make the mistake a second time. And they become eager to help others avoid it.
  4. Horrible recipe. Criminally short on quantity of chicken broth. Should be at least 5 cups. Following the recipe as is produces a tasty potato glue. Yuck.
  5. You can use a hand held blender. No need for a blender or the mess of cleaning it up. I blend it in the pot. Let it cool for a few mins before blending. Works great gets very smooth and creamy. I do the blending then add the cream. Stir till smooth. Love this soup, I've been making it for over 30 years. My whole family request this all the time. With a good sandwich it's a complete meal. Rubens or Philly cheese steak sandwich go very well with it. Really any hardy sandwich is good or a Quiche goes well with this. Add a salad if u like them. u will walk away full that's for sure.


  1. Since this IS a chilled soup, refrigerate the cooked ingredients (overnight is best to develop the flavor), THEN put the mixture through the blender. Put blended soup back in the refrigerator to remain cool until you are ready to serve. Eliminates the need for an ice bath, which takes forever (and a ton of ice) to achieve best results on a hot night.
  2. Science Note On What Happens In The Blender



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