Since asparagus is a great ally for our health, filled with cancer-fighting compounds as well as luscious flavor, this soup makes a lovely starter for the spring season.
Creamy and soothing, and a lovely shade of springtime green, this soup is perfect for a light supper along with bread and a salad, or as a pretty first course for your Easter dinner.
Using a blender or food processor makes it a snap to prepareand we include a vegan version, too.
1 pound fresh asparagus
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 medium-sized potatoes, diced
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 cup light cream or soy cream
fresh dill sprigs for garnish (optional)
1. Chop bottom half of asparagus spears into 2-inch lengths and place in soup pot along with vegetable stock. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove asparagus with a slotted spoon and transfer to a colander over a bowl, pressing on the stalks to get as much juice from them as possible, then discarding the fibrous stalks. Add the extracted juice back into the soup pot.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion, stirring while cooking for 5 minutes. Chop the top half of the asparagus stalks into 1-inch pieces. Add asparagus pieces, celery, and potato to onion and butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover the saucepan and allow vegetables to cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of simmered stock and cover saucepan again, cooking another 7 or 8 minutes, until potato is tender, adding more liquid if the mixture gets too dry.
3. Process these cooked vegetables in a blender or food processor until smooth, then add this puree back into the soup pot, adding cream. Simmer for 5 minutes, then taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
4. May be served warm or chilled, garnished with a sprig of fresh dill, if desired.
Inspired by Soup Makes the Meal, by Ken Haedrich (Harvard Common Press, 2001).