I start planning for St. Patrick’s Day shortly after the New Year because it, like Thanksgiving, is a good-time “foodie” holiday where you leave both gifts and guilt at home, and eat, drink, and be merry.
Basically I make the same, traditional meal of corned beef, colcannon, and Irish soda bread, but I do try to mix things up where I can, such as in the soup starter. Most of the time it’s Potato-Leek, but this year I’m trying something different with this fragrant, rich and creamy asparagus soup.
It’s from the cookbook produced by one of my favorite local restaurants, Magpie’s on Historic Main Street in downtown Saint Charles, MO. Whether you eat in the cozy interior, or the delightful patio along cobbled Main Street, the food is always good, and the experience always pleasant. As I’d enjoyed this soup many times at the restaurant, I was thrilled to see it in the cookbook. I was equally thrilled to see how quick and easy it is to prepare. Delicious when served cold, warm, or hot, it is the perfect all-seasons soup.
Here is the recipe as it appears in the cookbook, but I cut it down by thirds (so, 1 bunch of Melissa’s fresh asparagus tips. 1 quart chicken stock, 10 ounces of cream, etc.). Wonderful!
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Magpie’s Restaurant, Saint Charles, MO
3 bunches asparagus, woody stems removed, tips cut off and reserved for later (Cut the rest into 2” pieces)
3 quarts homemade chicken stock
1 quart 40% cream
2 tablespoons dried tarragon
¾ cup cornstarch dissolved in1cup cold water
3 tablespoons butter, cut into ¼” thick pieces
Pour chicken stock into a heavy stock pot and add asparagus, excluding the tips. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender, purée mixture until smooth and creamy. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a stand blender or food processor, but allow mixture to cool slightly before doing so, and puree in batches.)
Return puréed mixture to stock pot, and add in reserved asparagus tips. Stir in the cream and tarragon. Return to a low boil. Thicken with the cornstarch dissolved in water, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes after it has thickened, then add the butter, stirring until butter has melted.
Makes about 5 quarts.
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