It's officially spring, and coinciding with that are massive piles of asparagus in the grocery store and farmers market. The delicious green spears that recently cost as much as $4 a pound are now priced at $1.40 a pound. Great news for me, I can indulge my asparagus lust in all sorts of ways. I've always enjoyed asparagus soup, but usually prepare it with a roux base. My favorite recipe is an elegant and silky smooth version from Julia Child, which I often served for company. This recipe uses potatoes, rather than flour, to give a thick consistency. It's heartier than Julia's and very filling. I made this soup today and realized it would be a nice soup for Easter, so I used eggs for the garnish. The herb I chose was dill, but basil, thyme and tarragon would work beautifully too.
The finished soup can be served as is or if you want a more elegant version, put it through a sieve, to remove the fibers from the asparagus. I didn't do that, because I think the soup tastes fine without taking that step. The recipe also calls for cream, which I did use. But, frankly, it tasted very good before I added the cream.
This lovely dill soup was made to celebrate Weekend Herb Blogging, the gold standard of events created by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. WHB traveled all the way to France this week, to be hosted by Katie at Thyme For Cooking. Stop by her site and be prepared to experience intense envy when you see a typical day for her.
Happy Easter everyone. I'm going to make cookies and a cake now. Sugar rush, here I come.
Asparagus, Potato, and Dill Soup
(Adapted from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook)
2 1/2 pounds asparagus, washed and woody ends trimmed
3 Tablespoons butter
3whole cloves peeled garlic
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 medium bulb fennel, diced
6 medium Yukon Gold, or red potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup fresh dill chopped fine
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
2 cups light cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 hard boiled eggs sliced for garnish
Cut off the asparagus tips and save for later. Using a food processor slicer blade, slice the asparagus into small round pieces. This will cut up the fibers in the asparagus.
Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onions, celery, fennel, and garlic over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and asparagus, stock and wine and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Add the cream, chopped dill, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Then, using a hand blender puree the soup in the pot. Or use a blender or food processor and process the soup in batches.
Heat water in a small pot until it boils. Add the asparagus tips and cook them 2 minutes. Drain and briefly cool in cold water and then set aside.
Serve the soup garnished with eggs slices and sprigs of dill