Asparagus-Leek Soup
with Creme Fraiche and Chives
Creme fraiche can be found in some supermarkets and most specialty foods stores. But just in case you cannot find it, here's a simple recipe for making your own. Offer a crisp and clean French white wine with the soup, such as a Chablis.

For Creme Fraiche:
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream

For Soup:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped leeks
(white and pale green parts only; from about 2 large leeks)
3 pounds asparagus, tough ends broken off and discarded, spears cut into 2 inch pieces
6 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped chives
FOR CREME FRAICHE: Whisk cream and sour cream in small bowl to blend. Cover and let stand in warm part of kitchen until thickened, at least 5 hours or overnight. Refrigerate.

FOR SOUP: Melt butter in heavy large deep-sided nonreactive pot over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and saute 2 minutes. Add broth and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer, reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes.

Using hand held blender, puree soup in pot. Alternately, working in batches, puree soup in food processor, blender, or food mill. Return soup to same pot. Stir in 1 cup creme fraiche. Season to taste with salt. If serving immediately, reheat soup a few minutes if necessary.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Creme fraiche can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated. Soup can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool. Cover and refrigerate. Stir over medium heat until heated through before serving.

Ladle soup into 8 soup bowls. Garnish each with a dollop of remaining creme fraiche. Sprinkle with chives.

Recipe created exclusively for by Betty Rosbottom.