Since we’re just getting acquainted with each other, I thought I’d share a little secret about myself with you. Don’t panic, it’s not a secret of the ‘deepest, darkest, way too much information’ variety. Just a basic little factoid ‘bout me. Here it is:
I love soup. Adore it, dream about it, and absolutely could eat it every single day of the gosh darned year. Hot soup, cold soup, creamy, thick or thin… I really don’t care, just bring on the soup. Yes, even in the summertime!
Last night I made one of the most economical, yet delicious soups ever: this wonderful Cream of Asparagus. You would never believe it has only FIVE (yes, “5”) SIMPLE INGREDIENTS! I already threw the receipt away, but if I just do the math in my head, I think the entire pot cost a grand total of around $8.00, for (roughly) six servings. It’s hard to beat that!
We enjoyed the soup with a simple salad (made with the sale Boston lettuce), and some crunchy sesame breadsticks. Try it while the asparagus is on sale for 1.99/pound!
Some quick notes on the recipe: be sure to trim off the woody ends of the asparagus before you chop the stalks. If you don’t know this already, the asparagus will ‘tell’ you which part to throw away, if you simply bend the bottom of the individual stalks with your hands, it will naturally ‘snap’ where the good part starts, and the woody part ends. Brilliant!
Also, if you’d like to make a pretty garnish, save out a few of the tips. Blanch them quickly in a small pan of boiling, salted water for about 1 minute. Drain them well, then garnish each bowl with a tip or two immediately before serving.
(Personally, I think this is a wonderful idea and I would have done it too, but I was really, really hungry. I punted and used the chives that are growing like crazy in my backyard! J)
SIMPLE CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
Makes roughly six cups
Source: epicurious.com (“Crème D’asperges”)
- 2 T. butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 lbs. asparagus, woody ends trimmed; stalks sliced 1/2 “ thick (tips reserved if you’d like to make the garnish, as discussed above!)
- 3-4 c. good-quality chicken broth (I used 3 ½ cups)
- ½ c. heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper. Sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped asparagus (again, season) and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cover pan and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer soup for 15 minutes, or until asparagus is tender. Cool the soup for a few minutes.
Transfer contents of saucepan to a blender (you might have to do this in batches). Place the top on the blender, venting slightly to allow steam to escape (*see very important note below). Start the blender on low, then increase the speed slowly. Blend soup until completely smooth. Return to the pan, set over low heat. Add the cream, stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved, blanched tips (as discussed above!).
*BLENDING HOT LIQUIDS 101: Unless you enjoy cleaning green soup off of yourself, your cabinets, and your ceiling, please, please, please do not 1). Fill your blender to the top with hot soup, and then 2). Put the lid on tightly, and then 3). Turn it on full blast. (I’m telling you these things because 1). I like you, and 2). I don’t want your scalded self and your messed up kitchen on my conscience!)
Instead, allow the soup to cool slightly in the pan. Fill the blender just over halfway, then begin blending the soup very slowly, leaving the lid slightly askew. I also like to hold a folded up dishtowel on the lid, as I’m holding the lid in place. As the steam is under control, then you can increase your speed.
I avoid this entire blender situation altogether by using my immersion (a.k.a ‘stick’) blender, one of the best little inventions in the world!
Posted by Leah DamronLeah Damron is an avid home cook who believes in using the freshest ingredients available, and she challenges herself weekly to create meals out of (mostly!) sale items. If Sendik's ever gave a title for "Biggest Fan", she believes she would win, hands down. Leah lives in greater Milwaukee with her husband, three children, and her big black lab, Daisy."
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