It’s Spring – Got Asparagus?

Image by Esteban Cavrico via Flickr

Asparagus can be stir-fried, grilled, steamed, boiled, and pickled. You can use it in quiches, salads, omelets, wraps, casseroles, stews, and yes, even soups. Following is the soup recipe I promised. It was featured at our party earlier this spring and received rave reviews.

Asparagus-Potato Soup

3 medium potatoes, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 13-oz. can chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 10-oz. box frozen cut asparagus or
1/2 pound of fresh asparagus cut into half-inch pieces
1 4-oz. package cream cheese
1 1/2 cups light cream

Combine potatoes, onion, chicken and salt in a medium saucepan.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are barely tender.

Add asparagus and return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Cut cream cheese into chunks and add to vegetables. Add light cream. Heat, but do not boil.

Serves 6.

Here is another recipe using asparagus in a soup:

Asparagus and Leek Soup

1 leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, washed thoroughly and chopped
2 tablespoons butter
¾ lb asparagus cut into half-inch pieces
1 -13 oz. (1 can) chicken broth
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot, saute leeks in butter over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until slightly wilted.

Add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and garlic to the pot and bring to a boil.

Lower heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.

Mix in the heavy cream, salt and pepper.

Cool slightly, then blend soup in batches in a food processor until smooth.

Return to the pot to heat through.

Here is how to prepare fresh asparagus: Trim the stem end about 1/4 inch and wash in warm water several times. Wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends if not using immediately, or stand upright in two inches of cold water, as you often see done in grocery stores. Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality.

History: Asparagus has been used from earliest times as a vegetable and as a cleansing and healing medicine. Recipes for using asparagus are found in some of the oldest surviving recipe books. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in the winter. Asparagus does not have a long growing season so snap it at its peak and enjoy!

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