Cream of Asparagus Soup

Reader Contribution by Chuck Mallory
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Cream of Asparagus Soup 

I’ve carried on before about my love of asparagus but this relationship just gets better all the time. 

Strangely, I’ve never made homemade asparagus soup until this spring. Perhaps I don’t have the patience when I know it can be steamed or blanched in a couple of minutes and ready to eat. 

Even more odd, this recipe came about when I was trying to make a healthy breakfast smoothie. I’d found two similar recipes for a healthy breakfast smoothie that were similar–one from ever-young Martha Stewart, and the other from ever-healthy Dr. Oz. The recipes were very much alike, with names like “Green Drink” or “Green Juice,” and started with two cups of chopped fresh spinach. 

I love spinach almost as much as asparagus, so I thought this green drink would be a much healthier alternative than my usual breakfast–black coffee and a Kellogg’s Pop-Tart (hey, I’m entitled to feel like a 12-year-old at breakfast, at least). 

Unfortunately, both versions of the green drink–even with their sweetening additives like minced fresh ginger or honey–tasted like a glass of wet, freshly-mowed grass. So I thought about converting that recipe to a hot soup. Then, the lure of my lover, asparagus, beckoning, I thought, why use spinach? 

This soup can be served warm or cold, though in my book cold soup is an oxymoron, , like “jumbo shrimp” or “delicious calamari.” This soup also strays from my original idea of a super-lean green liquid food since I added cream for thickness. 

But that’s okay. When you eat asparagus, all is forgiven . Sorry, Dr. Oz, I won’t give up my organic heavy cream.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil 
1 medium onion, chopped 
2 stalks celery, chopped 
3 medium carrots, chopped 
2 lbs. asparagus 
1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic 
½ teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon black pepper 
4 cups chicken broth 
½ cup half-and-half 
½ cup buttermilk 

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, snap woody ends off asparagus and chop into half-inch pieces. 

Add garlic, salt, pepper, and asparagus to simmering vegetables. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add 4 cups chicken broth, stir. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, let rest 5 minutes. 

Puree soup in blender in 2 or 3 batches. Pour pureed mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. Add half-and-half and buttermilk, and stir. Warm through, covered. Pour into bowls, and garnish. 

Possible garnishes: grated fresh parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, croutons. 

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