Serve this flavourful soup with a dollop of creme fraiche or soured cream to add richness to this warming broth on cold winter evenings. Sprinkle with a few snipped fresh chives.

450 g/ 1 lb Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1.5 litres/2 1/2 pints/6 1/4 cups Vegetable stock
4 medium Leeks, trimmed
150 ml/ l/4 pint/ 2/3 cup creme fraiche or soured cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
45 ml/3 tbsp snipped fresh chives, to garnish
Serves 6-8
Put the potatoes and stock in a saucepan or flameproof casserole and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Make a slit along the length of each leek and rinse well under cold running water. Slice thinly.
When the potatoes are barely tender, stir in the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally. If the soup appears too thick, thin it down with a little more of the stock or water.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, in batches if necessary. If you would prefer a very smooth soup, pass it through a food mill or press through a coarse sieve. Stir in most of the cream, cool and then chill. To serve, ladle into chilled bowls and garnish with a swirl of cream and snipped chives.

V A R I A T I 0 N
To make a low-fat soup, use low-fat fromage frais instead of creme fraiche or soured cream, or simply thin the soup with a little skimmed milk.