Every spring, I harvest a nice crop of asparagus. What’s especially nice about it is that it’s asparagus that I never planted or cultivated. It has taken root in a couple of retaining wall planting beds on the west side of my house, the product of seed-spreading birds.
This spring, starting my second year of early retirement, I have finally had time to really clean up those garden beds that had been neglected over the years when I was busy working, raising a son, and in the last couple of years, earning a pilot’s license. (My ultimate bucket-list item).
But this year was the year to get all my gardens back on line. I figured I would simple uproot the crowns from my flower beds, and transplant them into the vegetable garden. Simple, right?
Turns out, it wasn’t that simple. Those asparagus crowns were HUGE and as tough as cement. After chipping out one small piece and transplanting that, I figured it was way too much work, gave up and simply mulched over them. They still continue to come up, so I snap off asparagus spears from between my narcissus and daylillies. I figure I’ll let a few go to fern to keep the crowns going, and just live with the non traditional location of my accidental asparagus bed.
A little about asparagus. Again, this was one of the vegetables I never liked until I had it prepared properly. My mother, like most women in the 1970s, always overcooked asparagus. Thus, it was limp, olive green and slimy – and for years I though I hated it. Whatever you do with asparagus, you must only cook it until it is just tender and still a fairly bright green. This only takes about 5 minutes, and sometimes less. For this soup, I would err on the side of slightly undercooking the pieces, knowing that there will be more cooking as the soup comes together.
This soup is a great and different way of using asparagus aside from the usual steaming, roasting, etc. It makes a great brunch or lunch dish.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
- 1 lb asparagus
- 3&1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- Trim off tough ends of asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces. Bring about 1 to 1&1/2 cups of broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add asparagus pieces and cook until just tender – they should still be fairly light green – about 5 minutes. (Tip – start with stem pieces for a minute or two before adding tips to keep from overcooking tips. Also, if asparagus is of varying diameters, start with thickest first, adding thinnest after a minute or two).
- Remove about 1 cup of asparagus pieces and set aside. (Tip – start with the tip pieces as they make a nicer presentation at the end). Place remaining asparagus pieces with broth in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in flour until smooth; cook 1 minute while still whisking. Gradually whisk in remaining broth, cook until slightly thickened. Stir in asparagus puree, milk and cream, salt and pepper. Finally, add reserved asparaugs pieces and cook until heated through.