09 April, 2012

Tastely Tuesday: Lethally Good Asparagus Soup

Spring is here and so are the asparagus. Not only are they plentiful -- and on sale everywhere -- they're at their peak of flavor. And, even though the days are becoming mild, evenings can still be chilly, which means it's still the perfect time for a bowl of asparagus soup.
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, tough ends removed
  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, sliced (white part only)  
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 medium onion, chopped  
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth  (1-2 cups additional, if you like a thicker soup)
  • 2 Tbsp butter  
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour  
  • Salt and pepper  
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature  
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped  
  • 3 oz. cream cheese  
  • Chopped chives, for garnish
Rinse and cut asparagus spears in one-inch pieces. Slice leek(s) lengthwise, rinse well under running water to remove all sand and grit, and slice the white part into 1/4 inch slices.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven and add onion. Grate in garlic (or mince very fine). Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add asparagus and leeks and sauté an additional couple of minutes. Add four cups chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to control the boil, cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
In medium saucepan, heat butter. Add flour and stir to blend. Cook one-to-two minutes. Add salt and pepper. Whisk in milk to blend well and stir until it thickens into a sauce. Add one-to-two large ladles of hot broth from the vegetables, stir, and remove from heat.
Cut cream cheese into small pieces and add to vegetables.
With an immersion hand blender, puree vegetables, broth and cheese in Dutch oven, (or puree in batches in a blender and process until smooth). Add white sauce to the soup. Stir to combine. 
Optionally, you can add additional broth to achieve the thickness you prefer. Reheat, if necessary, and server sprinkled with chopped chives

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