Asparagus soup

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Asparagus ... you either love it or hate it. If you're on the fence, this will probably be the deal-maker because you get that lovely unique taste without the stringy stalks :D Yep, the stalks ... the tough and chewy, and stringy stalks. That part was definitely a deal-breaker for me when I first had asparagus. Like my kids, I would discard half the stem and just have the tips. Even then, they had to be swathed in a lot of butter and spices to mask ... ahem ... 'complement' the asparagus taste. 

But this was nice. For this soup, you use the whole shebang. And for someone who winces when I have to throw food in the compost ... yep! me again ... I am so happy to make this because ... less guilt :)

This classic ... read: vintage ... soup takes me back to the time we drove to the hills where we would have a steaming bowl of soup and then pancakes for dessert while taking in the beautiful vista from the restaurant in Puncak Pass. And while others opted for cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup, I gravitated toward asparagus because ... even back then ... I was boujee like that :D 

What about you? Do you love or hate asparagus? 

1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, minced
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 kg asparagus, separate stems and tips, cut stems into 1 inch pieces.
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock (or equal amount of water + 2 tbsp bouillon)
60 ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Savory dried herb blend (recipe follows)
1 tsp butter (to cook asparagus tips for garnish)

1. Wash and cut the asparagus. Save some tips to decorate the bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a pan, then add the butter.
3. Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent.
4. Add the cut asparagus stems, cook until softened.
5. Pour in the vegetable stock (or water with bouillon), along with the asparagus tips.
6. Cook until tender. This may take up to 7-8 minutes.
7. When asparagus is cooked through, very very carefully transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth. 
8. Return soup to the pan, add the cream, and season with salt, pepper and the savory herb blend, tasting and adjusting as necessary.
9. Cook a further 5 minutes to incorporate the spices.
10. Meanwhile, in a small fry pan, sauté the reserved asparagus tips in butter, season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl, spoon a drizzle of cream, then float the asparagus tips on the side. Enjoy with garlic bread, toasted and buttered baguette slices, or croutons.

This savoury herb blend is an all purpose ingredient, I use it for soups, roasting vegetables, cooking chicken ... so versatile. It has a bunch of different herbs that are so flavorful that can serve to reduce the overall salt you use in any dish. You can buy them in grocery stores or make your own blend. This is what I use in my blend.

Savoury Herb Blend:
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon white pepper

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