With chirping birds outside, the sun shining bright and a sky so incredibly clear and blue you could have thought that spring was finally here last week. It felt like we could take out the garden furniture and start cleaning up the winter dirt. But we all do know better, right? There is still more winter to come, I am sure about that. But I realized when entering our local supermarket, that the choice of vegetables is already changing and I found some very fresh bright green asparagus. So I decided to whip up this beautiful soup.
The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated and it is bursting with asparagus flavor, flawlessly smooth yet without lots of cream and butter. To keep the color bright green they added peas to the soup. Pretty, don't you think?
Creamy Asparagus Soup
Look for asparagus spears that are not more than 1/2 inch thick. If using thicker spears, use a vegetable peeler to peel the length of the spears before cooking to ensure a silky soup.
2 bunches thin asparagus (about 2 pounds) tough ends trimmed
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and Pepper
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1. Cut the tips off the asparagus spears and chop the remaining spears into 1/2 inch pieces. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus tips, cover, and cook until the tips are tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the tips, pat dry, and set aside.
2. Combine the remaining asparagus pieces, leeks, butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon papper in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 - 10 minutes.
3. Add broth to the pot, bring to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are completely tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and Parmesan.
4. Working in two batches, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the reserved asparagus tips, half- and half, and lemon juice and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.