Asparagus is without a doubt one of my favourite vegetables. So you can imagine how pleased I am that we’re in the heart of asparagus season and locally grown stalks are available everywhere. They make an excellent accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats, as the basis for a salad or stir fry or are delicious just on their own! To get the asparagus season started, here is a simple asparagus soup that makes a nice lunch with a light sandwich or is great way to begin a spring-inspired dinner.
Makes four 1-cup servings
(Can be made VEGETARIAN)
- 1 Tablespoon neutral oil, such as safflower or canola
- 3 leeks
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bunch (approx. 12 oz or 2 cups chopped) asparagus, woody ends discarded and cut into 1″ pieces
- 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice
- 3 cups chicken OR vegetable stock (homemade or canned, try to use low-sodium stock)
- 1/2 cup half-and-half (see ‘Helpful Tips’ at the bottom for further suggestions)
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Place leeks on a cutting board. Cut off and discard green leaves and root ends, leaving just the white bulbs. Slice the bulbs lengthwise down the middle. Rinse well under running water, making sure to clean out all the layers. Return to cutting board and lay the flat side down. Cut into ‘rings’, approximately 3/4″ thick.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil on medium-high. Add leeks and garlic and saute until the leeks are soft and just begining to brown, approximately 4 minutes (be careful they don’t start to burn!)
- Add asparagus pieces, potato and stock to pot. Cover and simmer on medium heat until asparagus and potatoes are tender, approximately 15 minutes.
- Once vegetables are tender, remove from heat and reserve a few of the tips for garnish. Carefully puree vegetable mixture with an immersable hand blender or in a blender until smooth.
- Return puree to saucpan and add half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish servings with reserved asparagus tips.
- The soup can be made in advance and re-heated for service, making an excellent starter course for a spring dinner party
- Be careful not to overcook the asparagus – it will start to become an unappetizing colour!
- When pureeing soup, be careful not to fill the blender too full. You may have to puree the soup in batches
- As a healthier alternative, you can substitute low-fat canned evaporated milk for the half-and-half. It won’t be quite as good though! Or, you could make it extra decadent by using whipping cream (35%) to produce a rich, silky soup.