Hi foodies! I'm back! And I'm just going to jump right into this like I never left. :-)
If any of you ever take a gander at my IG, you will see asparagus everywhere. It's one of my favorite veggies due to the fact that it's a family favorite as well. In fact, this past Easter, my Mom saw some good looking asparagus in the grocery store, and bought some to serve as a side. Turns out she bought entirely too much and I decided to make soup out of what was leftover. Mainly because the weather in Maryland and DC has been unseasonably chilly and I knew asparagus soup would be comforting (not to mention healthy).
So you will find the recipe below and I know it may seem like alot of steps but everything was done in about an hour, and all of the steps equal love. This soup is delicious hot but I think it would also be great chilled. Plus it's a great vegetarian dish that can easily be made vegan (italicized ingredients = vegan friendly). AND fresh asparagus is in season so head to your local farmer's market, grab a couple bunches and make this asap!
Ingredients (4-5 servings)
6 cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth (1.5 cartons)
2 lbs fresh Asparagus Spears
2 tablespoons Butter or Olive Oil
4 large Shallots or 1 medium Onion
3 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt*
Fresh Lemon Juice
Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for garnish (optional)
*Salt measurement depends on other ingredients. If you are using low or no sodium broth you may need the tablespoon of salt and possibly a bit more. I used regular broth and salted butter so the tablespoon of salt was plenty. Checking for seasoning after pureeing soup is important.
Prep the asparagus by cutting the pretty tips off at an angle and set aside. Then, cut the woody ends off and add them to a large soup pot with the broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and allow ends to simmer in the broth for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop what's left of the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside. Then, fill a bowl with cold water and a few ice cubes for an ice bath.
Using a strainer, remove the woody ends from the broth and discard. Add the asparagus tips to the hot broth and blanch for about 1 minute or until the tips turn a bright green and are just cooked through. Then, using the same strainer, remove the tips from the broth and immediately add them to the ice bath to shock. Remove tips from bath to a plate and set aside for garnish.
Keep broth on low and cover until ready to continue.
Next, dice shallots and mince the garlic cloves. Then, in a small saute pan, heat butter or olive oil over medium heat and add shallots or onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and allow to cook for another minute.
Add the shallot mixture to the broth along with the asparagus pieces, thyme, white pepper and salt. Stir to combine and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and let everything simmer for another 15-20 minutes or until the asparagus pieces are soft.
Lastly, puree everything in the pot using a hand-held immersion blender or standing blender. Check your seasonings and divide pureed soup into bowls. Garnish each with the reserved asparagus tips, Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.