Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chilled Lemongrass & Cilantro Vichyssoise: Cool & Creamy for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays + Giveaway Winner

Immediately upon buying "Delia's Summer Collection" by famous British cook and author Delia Smith, for $1.00 at a recent library sale, I began tagging recipes. One of the first was this Chilled Lemongrass & Coriander Vichyssoise.

I have only made a classic vichyssoise (cold potato and leek soup) once before (here), and this version is definitely a bit different, with lemongrass taking the place of the leeks, and it has coriander (cilantro) thrown in for more of an Asian take. I like the fact that the broth comes from the "scraps" of the lemongrass and cilantro stalks and extra bits from the green onion--very thrifty! ;-) To make it dairy-free, and in keeping with the South-Asian theme, I replaced the milk with some light coconut milk. If it's steamy where you are, this is the kind of chilly, flavorful soup that hits the spot on a warm day.

Delia says, "In summer, if the weather is really hot, nothing could be more refreshing than a chilled soup. Leeks, which have made this particular recipe famous, are not available in the summer, but this alternative is, I think, even better. It's made using fresh lemongrass available at oriental shops and some of the largest supermarkets. Once again remember to serve the soup well chilled."

Chilled Lemongrass and Coriander Vichyssoise
"Delia's Summer Collection" by Delia Smith
(Serves 4)

2 medium onions, chopped
2 oz (50g) butter (I used olive oil)
2 oz (50g) fresh coriander leaves
10 oz (275g) new potatoes, scraped and chopped small
1 1/2 pints (850 ml) stock (see below)
5 oz (150 ml) milk (I used coconut milk)
4 thick stalks lemongrass
4 spring onions, finely chopped
salt and freshly milled black pepper
thin lemon slices to garnish

First of all strip the coriander leaves from the stalks and reserve the stalks. Lemon grass is dealt with in exactly the same way as leeks; that is you trim the root ad the tough top away, leaving approximately 6 inches (15 cm) of stem, remove the outer skin and chop the lemongrass quite finely. Then do the same with the spring onions. Next gather up all the trimmings from both, wash them and pop them into a saucepan together with the coriander stalks, some salt and 1 1/2 pints (850 ml) of water and simmered (covered) for about 30 minutes to make a stock.

To make the soup, melt butter in a large saucepan, then add the chopped lemongrass, onions (reserve the spring onions until later) and potatoes and keeping the heat low, let the vegetables sweat gently (covered) for about 10 minutes. After that pour in the stock through a strainer, discard the debris, then add the milk and about 3 quarters of the coriander leaves. Season with salt and pepper, bring up to a simmering point and simmer very gently for about 25 minutes.

Allow the soup to cool a little before pouring it into a food processor or blender, whizz it up, then pour it through a strainer into a bowl. When it is cold, cover and chill thoroughly till you're ready to serve. I think it's a good idea to serve the soup in glass bowls that have already been chilled. Add a cube of ice to each bowl and sprinkle in the rest of the coriander (finely chopped) and the spring onions as a garnish. Finally float some lemon slices on top and serve straight away.

Notes/Results: Thick, creamy, cool and full of some of my favorite flavors, this is a really good soup. It takes a bit more time and effort than some cold soups--making the broth, getting the veggies going in a separate pan, straining twice, blending etc., so it is a good one to make the night before or in the morning while it's cooler, giving it plenty of time to chill before you enjoy it. All of the flavors come through well, (the coconut milk replacing the regular milk adds another layer of flavor), and it tastes even better with a squeeze or two of lemon in the soup before serving. This is a rich soup, so it is perfect to enjoy in a small cup or bowl before your main meal. (Speaking of bowls--isn't this a cute little green bowl and spoon set from the Japanese dollar store? With making a soup every week, I have to treat myself to the occasional new dish now and then to keep it fresh.) I would make this soup again.

Let's visit the Souper Sunday kitchen and see who is here this week:

Tigerfish from Tezcape--An Escape to Food is here and has a healthy Nagaimo (Mountain Yam) Chicken Soup to share and says, "It is not often that I see edible tuber-like plants with digestive enzymes such as amylase and diastase that convert starch to sugar and digest carbohydrates. Nagaimo is one of them, also know as Chinese Mountain Yam (山药 Shan Yao, or 淮山 Huai Shan. There is plenty of nutrients in Nagaimo and you should really check them out. This soup is real easy to make, nourishing to the body and naturally delicious."

Spencer from Live2EatEat2Live brought another unique soup and says, "This week’s offal offering is Beef Tendon Stew with Daikon (turnips). I found beef tendons at our local Korean market. I was planning to cook oxtails but the packages were too large (about four pounds) for just the two of us. Beef tendons are supposed to be rich in collagen, which The Cat loves (see posts about chicken feet). The texture of the tendons lead me to think that tendons are fatty and full of fat and cholesterol. A search on the web indicates otherwise. Tendons are supposed to be very low in fat with no saturated fat and no cholesterol. Yay!"

Yenta Mary from Food Floozie is back with her perfect summer meal--Salad for a Sweltering Day. She says, "Tom had given me some grass-fed beef and some romaine that he wasn't using, as well as a cucumber that we'd bought at the Farmers Market on Saturday morning. I had some garlic scapes and some scallions, some Ramen noodles, a carrot ... odd little tidbits and pieces. So what did I do with them? I made a salad and topped it with cold noodles, then placed beef that I'd sauteed in a trio of sauces over the entire mix. It was cool, it was crisp, it had both protein and carbohydrates ... and, most importantly, it was delicious."

It's so nice to see Donna from My Tasty Treasures back this week with two pasta salads to share. First, her Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad. Donna says, "As soon as I saw this Roasted Red Pepper Salad on the cover of Food Network magazine, here, I knew I would make it. Roasted Red Peppers and I have this MUST EAT type of relationship, ya know.This Roasted Pepper Pasta Salad is simple, easy to make and tastes light and lovely"

About her Barbecue Macaroni Salad she says, "My second salad contribution comes from Cook's Country and it was a great change up from my favorite macaroni salad, found there. It was a macaroni salad with a barbecue flair. Simple to make and a bit out of the ordinary so I liked it. An absolutely lovely salad. Great flavor."

Carla from RecipeAddict has a hearty dish to share and says, "I was in the grocery store last week picking up some last minute items when I saw a can of Southwest Bean Salad. I gave it a glance and didn't even note who it was made by or exactly what the ingredients were in it, though I did note in the picture on the label that there was corn and black beans. I knew I had all kinds of beans at home so I started thinking, why not just customize my own. Now I was on a mission! I scanned the internet, gave up and went into the kitchen. This is what I came up with. I am sure it was much better than that can I had in my hand back in the store. This salad says "summer days" to me."

The lovely Michelle from Ms. Enplace is also into the beans this week with her Black Bean & Corn Salad. Michelle says, "We love to eat this in the summer. The colors are festive. The lime dressing is light and bright and perfect for this time of year. It's also a versatile dish. It can be eaten with chips as a chunky salsa, as a side (we like it with grilled chicken), or as a meal on its own (we sometimes eat it for lunch). I like that it's healthier than a mayo-based salad. And it's very easy to make...another plus for busy summers."

Pam from Sidewalk Shoes filled up hersmoker racks with a variety of delicious items this week including mushrooms. She says, "Mushrooms?! Yep. I smoked my sidedish salad! As with all things smoking, I turned to Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue my smoking bible. There is a whole chapter on Smoke-Scented Salads, Pastas, and Pizzas! What I found was Warm Mushroom Salad (though I had leftovers the next day, and let me tell you, Cold Mushroom Salad is pretty darn good too!). This was excellent, smoky yet fresh with the tomatoes and fresh herbs! Perfect sidedish for any barbecue!"

So that is our Souper Sunday line up this week. A few soups, and a bevy of salads and it all looks delicious. Thanks to everyone who joined in. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar for all of the details.

***Giveaway Winner***

In other news, the Giveaway Winner of the $50 Safeway Gift Card, randomly drawn from all the applicable comments is...julee jingle, who hails from Washington State and has a blog called My Happy Life By the Bay. Julee's money-saving tip was: "My simple savings tip when I'm really trying to save is that I send my husband with a list. He hates shopping so much that he sticks right to the list and gets out of there!" Love it! ;-)

Congratulations Julee! Please email me with your address and I'll get your gift card out to you ASAP so that you can start spending. ;-) Thanks to all who entered and to Safeway of course for providing such a great prize.

Have a wonderful week!


  1. A dollar...that is excellent. Sometimes I am lucky and come across some good deals at the library.

    Fabulous soup. I was just visiting at ReTorte and she made a lemon lemon! This soup is a keeper in my to-try folder.

  2. I love the dollar store! I think most of my tableware is from there :p

  3. your lemongrass soup looks very good! lots of other tempting dishes from your friends too!!
    thanks for sharing

  4. I feel "souper" lucky and very spoiled to be the winner! Thanks much Deb -- to you and to Safeway. I promise to put the card to good use.

  5. Oh yum, I love lemongrass, to this is right up my street; thanks.

  6. I love that this is an Asian-ified version of Vichyssoise. Fusion food at its finest.

    I have a such a weakness for new bowls and dishes as well! These are so cute.

    Awesome round-up!

  7. Thanks for hosting the roundup!

    I see so many things I want to try.

  8. Thanks for the round up, Deb :)
    Lemongrass soup sounds very appetizing.

  9. What a perfect summer soup, Deb. It looks delicious as do all the other round-up entries. I hope the day is treating you kindly. Blessings...Mary

  10. I love the dollar store as well :) Looks like a great soup!

  11. wow cool soup, literally he he thanks for the kind words on the bread make my day

  12. this looks like it's such a light and refreshing soup very exotic and cooling with the lemongrass and cilantro...hope you enter this or something similar to our momgateway light recipes contest

  13. What a looong way $1 goes! Your soup looks absolutely delicious and perfect for cooling off with. Congrats on the Top 9! Very well deserved.

  14. Deb - Your soup looks delicious and I love your new bowl and spoon. The Japanese dollar store sounds like a fun place!

    Loved the roundup and all of the pasta and bean salads! Wish I could've got my rear in gear to participate.

  15. Congratulations on the Top 9!

  16. Love your photos! Great roundup too!

  17. Great soup for those incredibly hot days...when my husband was living in the L.A. he had used to spend his time between the work, beach and cooking, too. what a life...

  18. This sounds like a very cooling summer soup! But I can't get over the bowl & spoon...they're great =) Delish roundup!

  19. I really need to try more chilled soups. Yours not only sounds delicious, but I love all that bright color. Great round up as always!

  20. I love the Asian inspired vichyssoise - its inspired me to try it!


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