2 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter
2 leeks, white and tender green part only, finely sliced
500 grams floury potatoes, e.g. Agria, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped thyme or rosemary
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup milk
3 cups frozen peas
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
cream for drizzling
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan and add the leeks, potato, garlic and thyme. Season and cover. Cook gently until the leeks are soft but not browned, stirring occasionally to prevent the vegetables sticking to the base of the saucepan.
Add the stock and milk, season and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. The soup will look a little curdled but will become smooth when blended.
Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
To finish: Purée the soup in batches in a food processor until well blended. If you want a silky smooth soup, push it through a fine strainer.
Return the soup to the saucepan and gently reheat, seasoning if needed. To serve: Ladle into warm bowls and drizzle with a little cream.
Vegetable Stock: heat a little oil in a large pot and add a chopped onion, leek and carrot, a stick of celery, a tomato, a few mushrooms and 2 cloves of garlic. Toss, cover and sweat the vegetables over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so as not to let them scorch. Add 2 1⁄2 litres of water, 4 peppercorns, a few parsley stalks and a bay leaf. Bring slowly to the boil, skimming as necessary and simmer for 2-3 hours.
Cool and strain, pressing down on the vegetables to extract maximum flavour. Refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze.