Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Asparagus Soup

In the last few years I have come to love asparagus.  Now that it is in season I was looking for a few freezer recipes that I can try out so I can enjoy asparagus for weeks and weeks.  I scoured the Internet and polled my friends to find an asparagus soup recipe that doesn't need cream.  Cream based sauces and soups do not freeze well.  When it's time to thaw and reheat the sauce clumps up and never turns smooth again. 

I found a recipe that uses a potato and a little flour to thicken the soup and make it velvety.   This is essential when it's time to freeze and reheat.  I gave this one a try and it has great flavor.  It's thick and rich without any cream or half and half. 

Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus                                                  2.48
3 stalks of celery                                                .25
1 small onion                                                      .25
1 clove garlic                                                      .05
1 large russet potato                                           .70
4 Tbsp margarine                                               .20
2 heaping Tbsp flour                                          .10
4 cups chicken broth                                         1.86
2 tsp chicken base                                               .40
2 cups water
1 Tbsp soy sauce                                                .10
1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large pot (4 qt or larger) melt the margarine over low to medium heat.  Chop the onion and celery and add to the melted margarine.  Peel and mince the garlic and add to the pot.  Saute until tender.
While the veggies are softening, peel the potato and chop into 1/2" squares.  Trim the fibrous white ends off the asparagus and discard.  Slice the rest of the asparagus into 1" pieces setting aside the tips. 
I like to roast the tips in the oven at 400 degrees for ten minutes with 1 tsp of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Then I add the tips to the soup at the very end for a little texture. 

Once the onion and celery is tender stir in 2 heaping Tbsp of flour.  Pour in the four cups of chicken broth stirring constantly to incorporate all the flour without clumping up.  Then add two cups of water and two tsp of chicken base.  Stir well.  Add the chopped potato and asparagus stems. 
  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for twenty minutes.  I used this time to chop and brown some bacon in another pan for topping.  I suppose I should have done the dishes, but oh well! 
Now the soup looks like this.  Remove from the heat and allow the soup to cool slightly.  Next you will puree the soup in batches in the blender.  I had never done this before...so let me give you some tips.  I made quite a mess and was drenched in boiling hot soup.  I would not recommend that. 

Fill the blender no more then half full will a few ladles of soup.  Make sure the soup has cooled so steam does not build up when covered.  Now place the lid firmly on your blender and use the lowest setting to begin mixing the soup.  Pulsing can cause the soup to bounce up in the blender and may cause a mess so make sure you use the low setting only.  Once the soup has blended for about a minute, then you can blend on medium until all the asparagus has been incorporated.  The finished product will be smooth and velvety.  Pour the pureed soup into a bowl and set aside.  Continue to blend the soup in batches until all the soup is smooth. 
Here's a picture after I got the hang of it.  The soup in the blender has not yet been pureed, and the soup in the white bowl is frothy but smooth. 

Now return all the soup to the pan.  Stir in 1 Tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper.  Add the asparagus tips into the pureed soup and stir gently to mix.  This recipe makes about 8 cups or soup. 


You wont believe how rich and creamy this soup tastes without any cream!  If you want it to be dairy free you can use olive oil instead of the margarine.  It's warm and flavorful.  We topped ours with crumbled bacon and croutons for a crunch.  If you like a little zing, try adding some feta cheese or a Tbsp of sour cream. 

After dinner I poured the remaining 4 cups of soup into a plastic quart container and placed it in the freezer.  I was able to make two meals for $3.20 each plus toppings. 

I hope you give this one a try.  You can easily double the recipe if you have a bigger pot.  Then your family can enjoy farm fresh asparagus well into the summer.

Enjoy!
Christie aka Keeza

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