Recipe: Cream of Asparagus Soup

FRESH FARE: Cream of asparagus soup is a sure sign of spring
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“I absolutely love the mechanics of soup making,” says John Breeland, executive chef at Morels in Farmington Hills, who contributed this recipe. “From an early age, I’ve been fascinated with making soup, and to this day it’s one of my favorite things to make. When you see Michigan asparagus pop up in local markets, this is a good sign that Michigan cold weather is gone and that spring is in full bloom.”

> Cream of Asparagus Soup

Photograph by Joe Vaughn

¼ cup vegetable oil
1 Spanish onion (rough chop)
2 celery stalks (rough chop)
1 parsnip (peeled, rough chop)
salt & white pepper
8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds of asparagus (trimmed – dispose of ends and cut remainder in 2” pieces)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup Chablis
1 stick unsalted butter
Zest of 2 lemons
Garnish: Be creative, because the possibilities are endless. Asparagus tips, sour cream with citrus shavings, sautéed wild mushrooms, etc.

Directions:

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and parsnip and sauté for five minutes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add the asparagus and allow the stock to come back to a soft boil. Adding the asparagus at the last moment will ensure a beautiful, vibrant, green soup as opposed to an “army” green. Cook for three more minutes and turn off the heat. Transfer the soup to a blender and puree for a minimum of three minutes. Once the soup has been blended, add the soup back to the saucepan and return to simmer. Add the remainder of the ingredients, while adjusting accordingly with salt and pepper.

CHEF’S NOTE:

When blending hot liquids, remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least five minutes. Transfer to a blender and fill no more than halfway. Release one corner of the lid, as this will prevent the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. At this point, I always throw a kitchen towel over the top of the blender, pulse a few times, then proceed on high until smooth.

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