Monday, April 25, 2011

Asparagus Soup

This weekend I decided to make asparagus soup. I chose the soup because I love when it is spring and asparagus is finally coming into season. Asparagus is also full of vital nutrients including folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, and many antioxidants. This low calorie superfood made a delicious soup.

1 lb asparagus*
2 celery stalks, diced
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1/4 cup onion, diced (about 1/2 of a medium sized onion)
5 cups vegetable broth

The beauty of this recipe is that at the end it is blended, so you do not have to worry too much about your knife skills. 

This recipe was adapted by my mom and I to cut down on the pots used and the steps. 

1. Cut off the tough ends of the asparagus (typically the bottom 3rd. To test where it is, simply hold the top portion and the bottom of the asparagus and bend until it snaps. Where it broke is the best place to cut the bunch.)

2. Add the bottoms of the asparagus to the 5 cups vegetable broth in a pot, simmer for 20 minutes

3. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon and compost. Add remaining ingredients to broth and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes longer, testing the tenderness of the vegetables a few times along the way.

4. Once asparagus and potato are tender (meaning the fork goes through them easily and the asparagus have lost nearly all of their crunch), turn off the heat, add butter (optional), and use a stick blender or a regular blender to puree the soup.

5. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

A little history is necessary before I can continue: one of the many reasons I resisted learning to cook for so long is that every time I tried in the past I would burn and/ or cut myself. 

On cooking shows, or even when I just watch my mom, using a stick blender does not seem difficult... It was by far one of my most stressful cooking experiences so far. Boiling liquids and a tumultuous  stick blender that seems to have a mind of its own nearly led to the catastrophic burning of myself and my mom who was trying to teach me how to use it. 

The blender glues itself to the bottom of pot and in order to get all of the chunks blended, my mom kept telling me to lift it off the bottom. However, I took this to mean picking it directly up off of the bottom and fighting the ridiculous amount of resistance that the blender created. When I would finally overpower the suction, I would inevitably yank it from the soup and spray boiling liquid everywhere as the blades spun out of the water. After nearly burning us three times my mom finally clarified that I just need to tilt the blender off the bottom. So much easier and less dangerous!

The soup itself was pretty good, especially when pared with the biscuits (recipe coming soon), but could use a bit more flavor. Next time I am going to try it with some herbs to spice things up a bit.

* Because asparagus can often be expensive, consider growing your own!

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