cream of asparagus soup

lovely soup

Seasonal locavore types general have a deep and abiding love for asparagus, as its one of the first green, fresh foods we get access to once the growing season starts. Its a very versatile vegetable, freezes nicely because its hardiness, and makes an absolutely fabulous soup because of its rich taste and beautiful green color. This is an easy, delicious cream of asparagus I made recently.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

lovely soup

2 lbs (or roughly 4 cups chopped) asparagus
3 tblspoons butter
1 medium or large onion
5-6 cups chicken broth
1/2- ¾ cup half and half cream
tblspoon lemon juice
2 tsp sugar (optional)

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1. Rinse your asparagus well and remove the woody ends of the spears (the woody parts are harder to the touch and tend to look white or gray). Cut the asparagus into roughly one inch pieces. Set aside.

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2. NOTE: if you want to garnish your soup with a few asparagus tips, save a few out from the soup and cook them separately in a small pan of water.

3. Dice your onion and in a large soup pot saute the onion, until glassy, over medium heat in 2 tblspoons of your butter, stirring occasionally to keep the onion from sticking.

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4. Add your asparagus and stir to thoroughly coat with the butter/onion mixture. Continue to saute on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.

5. Add your broth, about five cups or just what is needed to cover the asparagus by one inch, and bring to boil.

6. As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and simmer, with your pot lid half on, until asparagus is nice and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Add more broth as needed to keep the asparagus covered.

7. When asparagus is fully cooked, you’ll want to blend your soup till smooth. I have a hand-held immersion blender, which I highly recommend investing in if you make a lot of soups, but if you dont have one you can use your standard blender. Simply add the soup in batches to your blender, being VERY careful not to burn yourself with the hot liquid.

8. Once the soup is completely blended and back in the pot, add your half and half cream and bring the soup back just to a boil and return again to low head.

9. To finish, add your lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of butter, and your sugar if you like to add just a touch of sweetness, as I do, to round out the flavors.

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This is soup is hearty enough to act as a meal if served with a veggie tray and nice loaf of crusty bread, or acts as a great appetizer. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

early summer saute

lovely saute

What’s great about the growing season kicking into gear is that you get to just open up your fridge and pick from a great green bounty, chop stuff up, and saute it in a pan with a bit of fat, a bit of acid, and a bit of seasoning, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. If you want to make it a meal, just add a bit of protein into the mix. The following is one such dish I whipped up this week from goodies in my local box, and you could easily make this a one-pot meal by adding cooked chicken or cannalleni beans.

Early Summer Saute
serves two as a side dish

lovely saute

1 tblspn butter or olive oil
1 tsp diced garlic
3 green onions
4 asparagus spears
4 mushrooms
1 zucchini
1 tsp dried basil (or fresh basil would be even better!)
juice of ¼ of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optional)

lovely saute

1. Dice your green onion, white and green parts included. In a large saucepan, saute your garlic and green onion your butter on medium low heat until the white part of the onion starts to get a little glassy.

lovely saute

2. While your onions are sauteing, slice your other veggies into nice bite-size pieces (see above photo).

lovely saute

3. Add your the asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini to the pan. Sprinkle your basil evenly over your veggies and stir. Saute on medium heat for five minutes.

4. Add lemon juice and continue cooking until the veggies are tender-crisp, no more than 10 minutes all together.

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Salt and pepper to taste to finish this easy early summer side dish, and if you have some real Parmesan cheese to shave on top, even better! Bon Appetit!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller