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Cream of spring soup recipe

May 25, 2008|By The Chicago Tribune

1 1/2 pounds asparagus
4 cups chicken broth
Coarse salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
White pepper
2 teaspoons each chopped fresh chive, chervil and dill
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Lemon

Snap the woody bottom off each asparagus stalk and discard. Clean stalks with a vegetable peeler. Trim off tips and set aside.

Settle stalks in a large saucepan. Pour in broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until very soft, 40 to 45 minutes. Don't be alarmed by long cooking time. It's necessary for a smooth soup.

Meanwhile, drop asparagus tips into fast-boiling, lightly salted water and cook until bright green and just tender, 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

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Using a food processor, immersion blender or the standard sort, swirl smooth broth and stalks. Keep warm.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and whisk, without browning, 2 minutes. Pour in pured stock all at once and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Season soup with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Stir in herbs, cream and reserved asparagus tips. Enjoy fully dressed, or not.

Serves six.

Inspired by that master of seasonal cooking, Perla Meyers. My version of spring, however, calls for more asparagus, less cream, no eggs.

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