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Potage Parmentier


This excellent French soup is as smooth and elegant as it is simple; serve hot to 6-8 people as a first course.

Soup Tale: France was beset with famine following the Seven Year War (1756-1763). Native son Antoine Auguste Parmentier, who had been fed the so-called poisonous potato root in a German prison-of-war camp, returned to France to find his country men starving. He set up potato soup kitchens throughout Paris to assist the poor. Ultimately, Louis XVI recognized his work by saying, "France will thank you some day for having found bread for the poor." In fact, he is best honored by the pleasure his country take in digesting Potage Parmentier.
  • 3 cups leeks, white and tender green parts, sliced (although not original to the recipe, the soup is enriched by sautéeing the leeks in 3 Tablespoons of butter as a first step)
  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups water (chicken stock is not orginal, but enriches it)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
Garnish: chopped parsley or chives

In a Dutch oven, simmer the potatoes, leeks, and salt in the water until all are very tender--about 50 minutes. Puree the mixture, then correct seasoning.

When ready to serve, stir in the cream, ladle into bowls or a tureen, and decorate with herbs.