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Creamy Asparagus Soup

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Serves six to eight; yields 7 to 8 cups.

Use either thick or thin asparagus spears. This soup is also delicious served cold.

  • 2 lb. asparagus
  • 3-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 small celery ribs, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large leek (white and green parts), halved lengthwise, thoroughly rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise (keep dark-green parts separate from light-green and white parts)
  • 8 whole peppercorns
  • 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large or 3 small red potatoes (about 1/2 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 heaping cup)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus, but don't discard them. Cut about 1-1/2 inches of the tips off the asparagus spears and cut the spears crosswise in thirds; set the spears and tips aside separately.

Melt 1-1/2 Tbs. of the butter in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the tough asparagus ends, about half of the celery, the onion, and the dark-green parts of the leek. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables look very soft, about 30 min. (If the vegetables show any sign of browning, reduce the heat to low.) Add 6 cups cold water and the peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 30 min. to make a flavorful vegetable stock.

Meanwhile, bring a 2-qt. pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus tips and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 min. Drain in a colander, shower with cold water to stop the cooking, and drain again. Set aside.

In another 3-qt. (or larger) saucepan, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter over medium-low heat. Add the white and light-green sliced leek and the remaining celery and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks look soft but not browned, 3 to 4 min. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the asparagus spears and the potato. Set a wire mesh strainer over the pot and pour in the stock from the other pot; discarding the solids. Stir well and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook at a lively simmer until the potatoes and asparagus are very tender, about 20 min. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.

Purée the soup in a blender in two or three batches. Return the puréed soup to the soup pot, add the cream, and stir well. Reheat the soup gently over medium-low heat. Season to taste with more salt and a large pinch of white pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls or soup plates and scatter in the asparagus tips, distributing them evenly among the servings.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 120; Fat (g): fat g 8; Fat Calories (kcal): 70; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 230; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 25; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was tasty but not my favorite recipe. I would make it again but not very soon,

This recipe seemed like alot of work for the final outcome which was good but not fantastic. I served it with a dollop of creme fraiche and lemon zest for some extra flavor

One of the best FC recipes ever. I make it several times each spring. When straining the broth, I mash the vegetables against the strainer to get more flavor into the stock. Also I don't save the asparagus tips for garnish but puree them with the rest of the stalk, makes more soup. There is never enough!!!

The vegetable stock gives this asparagus soup a very rich flavor without the heavy cream typical of most asparagus soup recipes. Best made one or two days ahead of the meal. Plate with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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