Mmmmmmm! If you love asparagus, this is a quick, easy and creamy soup that presents beautifully. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up all the goodness! It is very rich and makes a filling main course, or serve with a salad or lighter protein such as grilled or poached fish to round out the meal.
Asparagus is a good source for vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as fiber and folate. It also contains chromium, a trace mineral that assists in getting glucose into your cells, which is important if you are diabetic or monitoring blood sugar. It is also believed to be good for brain health and fighting cancer.
Fun fact about the stinky urine caused by eating asparagus, according to Smithsonian magazine: Asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparagusic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which have a strong, unpleasant scent, and are released in the urine. They are also volatile, which means that they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. Asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t smell. There are no harmful effects to eating asparagus or the scent. (So now you know!)
Variations: Change the color but not the taste! American and British asparagus is green, but you can also find it in purple (French) and white (Spanish and Dutch). It can be made vegetarian by using vegetable instead of chicken stock, and vegan by using dairy-free butter or olive oil, and blending equal parts soy, rice or oat milk and coconut cream instead of half and half.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large diced shallot (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 5 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 lb thin asparagus spears (Cut off and discard woody ends. Cut spears into 1 inch pieces and set aside tips)
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or creme fraiche (optional)
- In large saucepan, cook shallots in butter over medium heat until tender; about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
- Add basil, salt, pepper and asparagus pieces. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Add broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly, then carefully pour soup into a blender filling no more than halfway, and puree until mixture is smooth and no pieces remain. Work in batches if necessary.
- Return puree to saucepan. Taste and add more salt and/or pepper to preference. (I added another 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper as we like a little spice.)
- Add asparagus tips (reserving a few for garnish) and cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and swirl in a 1/2 tablespoon of sour cream if desired.
- Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as a main course.