It won't be long now before the signs of fresh, local spring asparagus will be in all of the markets. I don't know about you, but what a welcome sign that will be! Although asparagus is the main character in this spring soup, leeks (another spring veggie) also make an appearance. You might remember using leeks to create this amazing rustic, bacon, leek, and Gruyère pizza. This time, leeks will complement asparagus in a soup that is best served with a Sauvignon Blanc. So, let's get cooking!
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
- 1 pound fresh asparagus
- 1 medium leek, diced (white and light green parts used)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, diced
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3T unsalted butter
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 heavy cream
- Fresh lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
- Sour cream (optional)
Begin by cutting the asparagus tips off of the stalks and reserving them. The rest of the stalks can be cut into a 1/4" dice.
Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once melted add the shallots and garlic, stirring to soften. Once soft add the thyme, asparagus, leeks and salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the stock and water, bringing everything to a boil. Once boiling, stir and turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the vegetables are cooking, blanch the asparagus tips in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain and add them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process, retaining their bright green color. Reserve for garnish.
Once the vegetables have cooked for 15 minutes and are soft, remove from heat and use an immersion blender to chop and pulse the mixture. The soup should take on a thicker consistency. Return the pot to medium heat and slowly stir in the heavy cream, heating the soup until steaming. Blend in a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle soup into bowls and dollop with optional sour cream. Finish the soup by topping with asparagus spears and adding a shake of cayenne pepper.
See how simple it can be to create an elegant and simple, wine-friendly spring soup?