Last Saturday I visited our local farmers market. I love going there on Saturday mornings. Our famers market has a wide variety of vendors selling vegetables, meats and baked goods. There is also a guy who sharpens knives (I love that) and food and crafts vendors. It’s easy to spend a couple of hours meandering the site, sampling the goodies, listening to live music and going home with in season farm-to-table goodies.
This week the farmers stands were inundated with chives and asparagus. There was asparagus as far as the eye could see. I couldn’t resist buying some (along with some cranberry walnut bread and some cheddar brats). I’ve had a craving for soup lately and thought I’d try my hand at making some asparagus soup. And the rest is history… I could’t believe how easy it was to make but even better than that how delicious it was. I’ll probably head back next Saturday for another batch.
But let’s talk asparagus soup…
Lesson Learned 1 – Learn what parts of the asparagus spears you can use: Quite often you’ll see on television the way to trim asparagus is to bend it and where it breaks off is where you should trim your bunch. I’ve found that sometimes that wastes too much asparagus especially if you’re making soup. I learned early on that even with a very sharp knife, there can be a part of the spear that will very hard to cut – you almost always have to use two hands pressing down on the knife to cut it. That is the part you want to throw out. That still leaves some of the tougher parts of the asparagus, but as long as a knife will go through it without a lot of force you can use it in the soup. Keep in mind that soup is designed to use as much of the asparagus spear as you possibly can so don’t be afraid to use some of the tougher parts of the spear. As long as you can cut through it without a lot of force it will be perfectly fine for the soup.
Lesson Learned 2 – Be careful when using an immersion blender: I recommend using an immersion blender for this recipe. Some recipes have you blend the soup in batches in a regular blender. That’s a lot more work than is actually necessary. But, be careful when you use an immersion blender. If you lift the blade up over the top of the soup you’ll have soup splattered all over the place. (I know, I’ve done this!) Move the blender around slowly in the soup and don’t lift if above the top of the soup. If you have to lift it up higher, turn it off first. Just a little tip to save you a lot of aggravation.
Lesson Learned 3 – You can make this soup and store it: This soup will keep it’s freshness for a couple of days. If you decide not to serve it immediately hold off on stirring in the last tablespoon of butter and lemon juice. I made my soup in the morning, refrigerated it and served it for dinner. Right before I served it I stirred in the butter and lemon juice. It gives the soup that that final finishing touch and freshness.
This recipe is so simple and easy. Most of the work is in the prep of the ingredients. I also like this recipe because it makes a manageable amount of soup, servings for four. That way you don’t have a lot of waste. But if you want more, just double the recipe and it’ll turn out just as good.
This recipe is so good I plan on going to the farmers market again this Saturday and buying more asparagus to make some more soup. It’s so much better than the canned stuff. Enjoy!
3 Tbs. butter, separated
1 medium sized onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 Tbs. flour
3 cups low sodium chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth as well)
1/4 cup creme fraiche (you can use sour cream)
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Take the tough bottoms off the asparagus spears. Remove a couple asparagus tips and set aside for garnish. (you can slightly steam them or leave them as is for a bit of crunch). Cut spears into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
In a medium size high sided pot melt 2 Tbs. of butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the onions while cooking.
Add the asparagus pieces to the onions and cook over low/medium heat for five minutes. Salt and pepper the asparagus. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the asparagus, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a low boil. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend the asparagus into the soup. Continue until there are no evidence of remaining spears. After a few minutes, if any parts of spears remain remove them – they are probably too tough to be broken down. Add the creme fraiche and stir to thoroughly combine.
At this point you can cool the soup and store it for a couple of days if you like. If you plan to serve it immediately stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the juice from the lemon. If you plan on serving it later, warm the soup and at that time and add the butter and lemon juice right before you serve.