Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.
I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.
This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.
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Cream of Asparagus Soup
1.5 cups onions, chopped
6 Tblspn butter
6 Tblspn plain flour
2 cups water or vegetable stock
4 cups milk
sea salt and white pepper to taste
dill leaves to garnish
Remove the tough ends of the asparagus stalks and discard them. Break off the tips and keep them aside. Chop the stalks.
Saute the onion and asparagus with a little sprinkle of salt, in the butter over low medium heat, for 8 – 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the flour and stir over the lowest possible heat (use a heat diffuser if you have one) for 5 – 8 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, steam the asparagus tips for a few minutes until tender but still green, refresh under cold water and set aside.
Add the water or stock to the roux, raise the heat to medium and stir until thickened. Puree this in the blender until very smooth.
Return the puree to the saucepan and, over a low heat, add the milk, salt to taste and white pepper. Heat it gently, don’t boil it or overcook it.
Serve immediately with the dill leaves and asparagus tips.
Cream of Asparagus Soup in a High Speed Blender
This is how I make the soup in my Vitamix high speed blender. Use the same ingredients above but use 1/3 of the amounts. Prepare the asparagus in the same way. Chop the butter into 4 pieces.
Add the chopped asparagus stalks, the onion, stock or water and one piece of butter to the blender jug and blend, using the Soup function of the blender or by slowly raising the speed to 10/High. Puree until the soup begins to steam.
Meanwhile mix the flour with the milk, and mix well, but there is no need to be too fussy about the lumps of flour – the blender will break them down. Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
When the soup is steaming, stop the Soup function, and begin to blend on a medium speed, about 5. As it blends, remove the top of the lid and the butter pieces, one at a time, through the hole, and then pour the milk and flour mixture through the hole into the blender. Either return the speed to 10/High or stop the blender and return to the Soup function. Continue to blend until the soup is hot. Serve over the asparagus tips and garnish with dill leaves.
Note: Don’t overfill the blender. Use the large jug and a max of 2 cups liquid.