When you have good ingredients, you can make good things. When you have great ingredients, you can produce great things. This creamy fresh asparagus soup is one of the best things that’s come from my kitchen in recent weeks.
It’s been a long cool spring, and the asparagus crop here in SE Michigan has been spectacular. After a week or so of summery temperatures, a return to cool evenings prompted me to make this lovely fresh asparagus soup. What a treat!
My CSA basket included leeks and asparagus that week, so I used them at their freshest. If I had no leeks, I’d have substituted a small onion. Remember that cooking is fun, and it’s perfectly okay to use what you have on hand. There aren’t any recipe police: let your taste be your guide.
While this creamy asparagus soup recipe is scaled for 2 generous servings, it’s easy to scale it up if you have enough asparagus: just double the amount of each ingredient.
Don’t be afraid of what looks like a long list of ingredients: this goes together quickly. Do all the chopping first. If you don’t care about making a pretty garnish, don’t separate the asparagus tips, and omit a step.
For the smoothest possible soup, use a high speed blender. For a more rustic version, a simple immersion blender will do just fine. Don’t stress about this!
Creamy Asparagus Soup for 2
- 1 lb asparagus
- 2 small leeks, white & light green parts, sliced
- 2 small shallots, minced
- 1½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
- ½ cup water
- 1 small bay leaf
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or use ½ tsp dried)
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 large handful arugula [optional]
- 1½ tsp dry vermouth
- 1½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 tbsp heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste
- This all will go faster if you do all the chopping first: cut tips from the asparagus 1 1/2 inches from top and set aside for a good-looking garnish. Chop the rest of the asparagus stalks into 1/4-inch rounds. Slice the white and light green parts of the leeks. Chop the shallots into smallish pieces. Mince the garlic.
- Melt the butter in a 4 to 5 quart pot on medium heat. Add the leeks and shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook a minute more.
- Add the chopped asparagus (not the spear tips) to the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the stock, water, thyme sprigs and bay leaf to the pot. Increase the heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the asparagus are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Toward the end of cooking, stir in the chopped parsley and arugula. You want it to wilt thoroughly.
- While the soup is cooking, make a pretty garnish. Blanch the asparagus tips in a small pot of boiling, salted water, until the tips are just tender, about 2-4 minutes, depending on the size of the asparagus. Drain. Rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs. For a velvety texture, a Vitamix or similar high-speed blender is perfect. Use what you have, though: an immersion blender works, or a regular upright blender. If you use an ordinary blender, work in batches, fill no more than a third the blender bowl at a time, and hold down the lid while blending.
- Wipe out your pan (so you don’t have any accidental lumps) and return the soup to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the vermouth and lemon juice. Taste again to check for balanced flavors.
- At the end, drizzle in 2-3 Tablespoons of cream, stir well, and garnish with the reserved asparagus tips.