November 29, 2010

Cream of Asparagus Soup

The great thing about working as a cook on the weekends, is that when I go grocery shopping, I have a knack of picking out awesome deals. Such as yesterday when I got 3 HUGE bags of asparagus with 3 bunches of asparagus per bag. Guess how much each bag of slightly not perfect asparagus was? One dollar. yes, you read it right. ONE DOOOOLLAaaaa (imagine this said with a loving, stereotypical, heavy Chinese accent) Crazy cheap right??? Well, yesterday I made Cream of Asparagus Soup at a friend’s place, and I had enough asparagus to make it again today at home! I love asparagus. I think the first time I ever tried to make it as a youngster, I sautéed it in butter with a little salt and pepper (which is fine and dandy) but I made the common mistake of not snapping off the woody ends of these things. Dang… I can totally imagine my 12 year old self being disappointed by this.

Well, as long as you remember to take off the ends of these green, crunchy spears of goodness, you really can’t go wrong. Have them steamed, sautéed, poached, drizzled with Hollandaise sauce, squirt of lemon, shavings of Parmesan, bundled and wrapped in bacon and then baked until crisp, use it in Macaroni and Cheese, bake it in a Quiche… I could really go on and on.

I felt like soup though, because the weather has now reverted to a typical Vancouver winter: cold and rainy that will chill you to the bone. Yep. Soup it is.

You can leave out the milk and cheese in this recipe if you want to make it vegan… but I like the thick consistency of this soup when there’s a little dairy to make it extra cheesy and creamy.

Peel the Asparagus before you put it in the soup.You will then not get the stringy outer parts muddle up the texture of the soup. I didn't realize this until now..but it tasted good regardless.

  • 2 Small or 1 large Onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 head of Garlic
  • 3-4 White potatoes such as Yukon Gold, cut to 1” cubes
  • 2 Carrots, sliced
  • 3 bundles of PEELED Asparagus (or less depending on how much money you’re willing to spend)
  • 5 White Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 small Yams
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Water
  • 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
Optional: 2 Cups 2% Milk, and 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
Special Equipment: Hand Held Electric Blender

1. Heat a large pot with the olive oil.
2. Dice the onion and add it to the pot
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3. Wash and cut the potatoes, and yams to 1” cubes and add it to the pot.
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4. Wash and slice the mushrooms.
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5. Add bay leaves.
6. Cut up carrot in to 1” medallions
7. Snap off the woody ends of asparagus, wash, reserve a handful of asparagus for later, fill bowl with water and add it to the pot. Add more water until all the vegetables are just covered.
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8. Add garlic (I left mine for a little too long), cover with a lid and simmer
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9. When the potatoes and yams are done (poke them with a fork) and then PULVERIZE them with a hand held blender until it is literally, beaten to a pulp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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10. To thicken, ladle out some soup, and whisk in some corn starch to thicken and add back in to the soup. Then pulverize again just to make sure there aren’t any lumps.
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11. Add some milk and keep simmering the soup, and add freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
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12. Cut up a few of the reserved asparagus and cut the spears in a diagonal. Sauté in a large tab of butter until tender. Ladle out a bowl of soup, sprinkle as much of the sautéed asparagus on top, grate on some more fresh parmesan and enjoy! Have it by itself, or make yourself a grilled sandwich. mmm..
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