There is something irresistibly simple and comforting about a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. This Creamy Asparagus, Leek and Pea Soup is a lovely springtime version...silky smooth with just a touch of cream and loads of good-for-you spring vegetables.
Warm, satisfying and easy to make, this Creamy Asparagus, Leek and Pea Soup pairs nicely with a toasted goat cheese sandwich and a glass of white wine for a simple springtime supper.
Why This Recipe Works
- It contains three classic spring vegetables: asparagus, leeks and peas (frozen are just fine) which, when blended together, create a delicious and nourishing combination.
- The soup comes together quickly and easily.
- It can be made entirely in advance (it even freezes well) and reheated in minutes for a quick lunch or supper.
- Asparagus is really the star of the show here. Look for spears that are on the thinner side. If you can only find thicker spears, that works, too! They may just take a little extra time to cook.
- Leeks are the springtime aromatic of choice in this recipe. Be sure to clean them well as they grown in sandy soil and are often quite dirty, even on the inside. The best way to do this is to slice the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse them under running water, making sure to rinse between each layer.
- Frozen Peas round out the list of vegetables. If you have access to really fresh green peas, by all means use them, but frozen peas work just fine in this recipe.
- Chicken or vegetable broth serves as a rich liquid base for the soup. I personally prefer chicken broth, but if you are a vegetarian, a good vegetable broth works just fine.
- Thyme provides a fresh, green herb flavor.
- Just a few tablespoons of flour thickens the soup nicely.
- Lemon juice brings just the right amount of acidity and brightness.
- A splash of heavy cream is all that is needed to bring a bit of richness without going overboard.
- Finally, a pinch of cayenne pepper provides a welcome, subtle heat that really rounds things out perfectly.
How To Make This Recipe
- Begin by trimming your asparagus spears, getting rid of the woody ends. Chop what's left into 1 inch pieces. Trim the ends of the leeks, keeping the white and light green parts only. Split the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly under running water, making sure to get in between each layer. Chop the leeks into ½ inch slices.
- Melt 2 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Choose about a half cup of the most attractive-looking asparagus tips and add them to the pot along with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and steam until the asparagus tips are bright green and nearly tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover the pot and sautè the asparagus until completely tender, about 1 more minute. (This may take longer if your asparagus is on the thicker side). Transfer to a plate, sprinkle with a little coarse salt and set aside to use for a garnish.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot. Once it has melted and the foaming has subsided, add the leeks, thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cook until the leeks are tender and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 1 more minute.
- Add the remaining asparagus, broth and two cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the frozen peas and remove from the heat.
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender until completely smooth. Transfer back to the pot and add the lemon juice, cream and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt (you will definitely need more to really bring out the best in this soup). Serve, garnishing each bowl with few asparagus tips.
- Clean your leeks carefully! As I mentioned above, they can be quite dirty and if you don't remove all of the grit, you are likely to end up with a gritty soup. No one wants that. Take the time to slice each leek in half lengthwise and rinse them thoroughly under running water, making sure to get in between each layer.
- Practice safe blending when pureeing hot liquids. Hot liquids will quickly expand when put into a blender which can cause the lid to fly off and soup to potentially go everywhere. To prevent this from happening: (1) Fill the blender no more than halfway with the soup and place the cover of the blender on top. (2) Drape a kitchen towel over the cover of the blender and hold the top in place firmly with your hand as you press the "on" button.
- Season to taste with salt. This soup will need more salt at the end, I guarantee you. Without enough seasoning it will likely taste flat, or even a little bitter or astringent. The only way to ensure that it is salted to your liking is to season and taste repeatedly until it's perfect. Test and try until you get it just right.
Simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Wrap and store the asparagus tops for garnish separately. When you are ready to eat, simply reheat both the soup and garnish and enjoy!
Yes, this soup freezes quite well. If you wish to freeze this soup, hold off on adding the cream and lemon juice at the end and cool the soup to room temperature. Transfer it to a tightly sealed, freezer-safe container or freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to two months. When you reheat the soup, add the cream and lemon juice as directed.
Absolutely! Simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and replace the butter with olive oil. You can skip the cream altogether or use an unsweetened plant-based cream substitute instead.
Looking for more delicious creamy soup recipes? I've got several here on the blog:
Creamy Asparagus, Leek and Pea Soup
- 2 large leeks white and light green parts only
- 2 pounds asparagus woody bottoms trimmed and chopped into one inch lengths
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 cups of water divided
- Coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup frozen peas no need to defrost
- 3 tablespoons cream
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
- Trim the ends of the leeks and cut in half lengthwise. Rinse thoroughly under running water being careful to get in between each layer of the leek (they can be very dirty). Transfer to a cutting board and cut into half inch pieces.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add a handful (about ½ cup) of attractive asparagus tips and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover and steam until asparagus tips are bright green and nearly tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover and sauté until completely tender, about 1 more minute, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the butter from getting too dark on the bottom of the pot. If your asparagus tips are on the thicker side, this may take longer. Remove asparagus tips from the pot, sprinkle with coarse salt and reserve for garnish.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to dutch oven. Once the butter has melted and foaming subsides, add leeks, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. Saute leeks and thyme in butter until leeks are soft and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Add remaining asparagus, broth and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 5-7 minutes. (The time it takes will depend on the thickness of your asparagus spears. The thicker ones will take longer. The best way to know if they are tender is to test one.) Add frozen peas and remove from heat.
- Puree soup in three batches in a blender until completely smooth. Return to pot. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, cream and just a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Season generously with salt and additional lemon juice to taste. Serve, garnishing each bowl with a few the reserved asparagus tips.
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