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Ham and Sweetcorn Chowder

Ingredients

30g/1¼oz butter

100g/3½oz shallots, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped (optional)

150g/5¼oz leeks, chopped

300g/10½oz potatoes, peeled and diced

1lt/1pt/15floz Ham, chicken or vegetable stock

1 small bunch fresh chives

salt and freshly ground black pepper

150ml/5¼floz Double cream

6 slices smoked ham

50 gr Sweetcorn

Chopped spring onions

Method

For the soup, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan.  Add the shallots, garlic and leeks, and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, without colouring.  Add the potatoes and cook gently for 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring the mixture to the boil.  Skim off the froth from the surface.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

Trim the bases of the chives and add the trimmings to the saucepan.  Remove the pan from the heat. Use a stick blender to liquidise the soup, or purée it in an upright blender (cool first if you’re liquidising in a blender).

Pass the soup through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and bring the soup back to the boil.  Skim the froth from the surface once more.  Season to taste, and then add the cream.  Chop the remaining chives, add sweetcorn to the soup and cook for a few mins.

Ladle the soup into four serving bowls.  Add cream into each bowl and sprinkle generously with the chopped chives.