A simple, creamy asparagus soup to celebrate the spring season.
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
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
3 tablespoons lemon juice
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 lemon juice, cream and just a pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Season generously with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing each bowl with a few the reserved asparagus tips.
*Be sure to clean your leeks thoroughly. They grown in sandy soil and are notoriously dirty. No one wants to eat a spoonful of gritty soup!
*This soup will not be delicious unless it is seasoned properly with salt. Be sure to taste and season well before serving.
*Remember your blender safety when pureeing hot liquids. Fill the blender jar no more than half way up, cover with a clean kitchen towel and hold onto the lid firmly with one of your hands as you push start. Hot liquids will jump up and out of the blender given the opportunity, possibly landing on you or your clean kitchen counters (and even ceiling) if you are not careful.
*If you wish to freeze this soup, wait and add the cream and lemon juice when you are ready to serve. This soup freezes nicely for about 2 months.
Keywords: asparagus, soup, Nordic, Scandinavian, spring