Best I Ever Had: Vatican Vichyssoise

Best I Ever Had: Vatican Vichyssoise

Vintage Recipe Quest

With the Wayback Machine set for 1993, we’re on a mission to recover a fondly remembered – and oddly named – recipe from yesteryear. The warm and soothing soup first appeared on the menu at the original iteration of The Shanty, when it occupied a notable historic hotel in Trexlertown.

Tracking down the chef at that time, Mark Prostko – currently serving as executive chef at Northampton Country Club in Easton – we were enlightened about the creation and curious nomenclature of the dish. “The title implies a chilled soup, but with a little poetic license this soup is served hot,” he says. The addition of kielbasa, a smoked and garlicky Polish sausage, intensified the taste and appeal of his creamy potato-leek potage. And since the Pope at that time, John Paul II, hailed from Poland, the chef glommed to the power of alliteration and added “Vatican” to the name.

Prostko, who generously recreated the recipe to share with our readers, recommends partnering this memorable cold-weather soup with hearty rye bread.

1 leek, white and just a small amount of green, rough chopped
2 stalks celery, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups kielbasa, medium dice
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 T chopped parsley
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco Sauce
Salt and pepper

In a large pot melt butter over medium heat. Add vegetables and sauté till soft. Vegetables should not caramelize. Add kielbasa and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add flour and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk or stir in chicken stock. Add potatoes, milk, and cream. Simmer for about 20 minutes till potatoes are tender. Add thyme, parsley, Worcestershire, and Tabasco; adjust as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.


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