30 April 2013

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Spring has finally sprung over much of the continent (looking at you, Minnesotans!), which means it's asparagus season! Have you read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? It's a story about a family who lives on a local (and homegrown) diet as much as possible for a year. In one section of the book, Kingsolver discusses asparagus at length; it's quite interesting. One of the things she mentions about asparagus is the relatively short time during which asparagus is in season. That time is now, folks. Grab your asparagus and get cooking (seriously, we're having it three times this week).

Generally, I opt to oven roast or grill asparagus, but I was paging through my cookbooks and found a recipe I wanted to try. Shana seemed to be on board for trying new recipes this week (three!), as well. Tonight, accompanied by my very favorite wild rice, we tried this soup. It was quite good, with a velvety mouth feel and great balance of flavors, while still tasting of asparagus. 


In addition, I would just like to say thank you to those of you who are reading my blog. As of this morning, my blog has gotten over 5000 hits in less than one year. I'm amazed and feel quite honored. 

Creamy Asparagus Soup
Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs. green asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 c. diced white potatoes
2 c. diced onion
4 c. vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. unsweetened soymilk

Directions
1. Place all the ingredients except soymilk in a soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. 
2. Cook for at least 20 minutes (mine probably went closer to 25 or 30) until the potatoes are very soft. 
3. CAREFULLY transfer the hot soup to a blender or food processor (see Helpful Hints) and puree until very smooth. 
4. Return to the pot and add soymilk, stirring to combine. Feel free to add more or less to get to your desired consistency. 

Helpful Hints
  • I had hoped to use my immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot, as transferring hot soup to a blender can be dangerous. However, there is very little extra liquid in this soup, so an immersion blender wasn't cutting it. I opted for my blender because it is glass. After eating the soup, I'm glad I opted for the blender over wrestling with my immersion blender, as there is no way an immersion blender would have gotten the soup that smooth. 
  • Tonight I used very small (think fingerling) white potatoes for this and cut them into 1/2 inch pieces. I did not peel them. I'm sure you could use other potatoes as well, but we wanted something very smooth.
  • You could certainly use black pepper in this soup (instead of white), you'll just end up with little black flecks. 
  • This soup has no added oils or fats in it (aside from what might be in your veggie broth). However, it's flavorful enough and has a great texture due to the white potatoes that you'll never miss the added fat.
  • I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but unsweetened soymilk is not the same thing as original soymilk. If you buy Silk, the unsweetened is usually in a green box on the shelf, whereas the original is usually in red and either on the shelf or in the refrigerator case. The original still has added sugars and will not do good things for this soup. You could also use a different non-dairy milk as long as it is unsweetened.

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