Do you love fresh asparagus season as much as I do? Seriously, I just cannot get enough of this stuff. I have had a multitude of asparagus grilled cheese sandwiches, plus have enjoyed it in quiche and in a calorie-laden creamy soup. I do love my asparagus soup, but oh, all of that cream! So, when I saw this recipe in the food section of a recent issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I was intrigued. This soup, like leek and potato soup, gets its creaminess from potatoes rather than cream. Well, you know I had to try it, and am I ever glad that I did. It is decadently thick and tastes fresh, like spring! If you like asparagus as much as I do, I think you will love this soup.
Fresh and Creamy Asparagus Soup with Tarragon
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
1-½ pounds asparagus (about 1-½ bunches)
1-¾ cups low-sodium chicken* or vegetable broth
1-¾ cups water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 small Yukon Gold potato (about 6 ounces),
peeled and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Ground black pepper
Chopped fresh tarragon, to serve
Croutons, to serve
Cut off the bottom woody ends of the asparagus, rinsing them if they are dirty and reserve them. Cut off the tips of the asparagus and set them aside. Chop the stems into 1-inch lengths.
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips and simmer until they are crisp tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl. Set aside.
Add the reserved woody ends to the liquid, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a second medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Pour the asparagus stock through a strainer into the saucepan with the onion, pressing on the asparagus ends to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ends.
Add the potatoes and salt to the saucepan and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped asparagus stalks, then bring the stock to a boil and simmer until the stems are barely blanched, 1 minute for thin stalks, 2 minutes for medium stalks and 3 minutes for thick stalks.
Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and carefully blend until smooth, transferring the soup as it is pureed to the empty saucepan. (If you have an immersion blender, now is the time to use it.) Stir in reserved asparagus tips and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, then continue cooking just until heated through. Divide between serving bowls and top each portion with tarragon and croutons.
Yield: 4 servings
*I used homemade chicken stock.