No, it is not a traditional French dish. Well, it is and it isn’t. According to legend, it was invented by a certain Louis Diat, a chef at the Ritz, in about 1917. But he did not really invent it; rather he improved upon traditional leek and potato soups that had been around for centuries, and gave it a name based on the town of Vichy, a city near his childhood home. There are many different recipes, and it may be served hot or cold. This one is my version. 


1 good sprig marjoram.

1 good bunch parsley.

1 bay leaf.

1 sprig rosemary.

50g butter.

1 large leek, white only, sliced.

5 cups diced peeled potatoes.

salt and pepper to taste.

4 tblsp plain flour.

5 cups chicken stock.

1 cup full cream.

A little water if required. 


Tie the herbs together into a faggot, or tie them up in a muslin bag, reserving some of the parley for garnish. Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium flame. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until the break apart into rings. Add the salt and pepper, and the flour. Stir through and cook for one minute, then slowly add the stock, stirring all the while.

When smooth and thick add the potatoes and the herbs, then stir in the cream. Add a little water if required to bring the consistency to the desired level. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for thirty minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat. Remove and discard the faggot, then beat the soup with an electric beater for a few seconds. Reheat very gently and serve, garnished with parsley. 

Yield. About 8 servings.

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