Monday, April 26, 2010

Cream of asparagus soup

G-man went to a sports bar on a man-date to watch an ultimate cage fight.  Yeah, um, that's not really my deal, so I get the house all to myself for an evening.

His absence left me the freedom to make something for dinner that did not take into consideration his many food dislikes: asparagus, anything in the pepper family, anything in the onion family, cauliflower, all bitter greens, peas, cooked carrots, garbanzo beans, parsnips, pretty much all squash. 

Sometimes I think it's a miracle that I can cook anything at all containing vegetables but then he'll surprise me and like something that contains only ingredients he dislikes.  He claims that I'm "the picky one" but that's just because whereas he can eat the same thing every night for a week, I get bored and need culinary challenge.

Anyway, back to my dinner.  I have this rule about canning: if I still have significant quantities of something I canned by the time that thing is in season again, I won't can it again.  Makes sense, right?  I made nearly 6 gallons of fermented dill pickles in 2008 and it has taken us the past 2 years to eat all of them.

Last June I canned something like 25 pounds of asparagus.  I've barely used it, mainly because G-man can't stand the stuff and I can't stand his bitching and moaning when I eat it.  Since he's gone, I got to use some of it to make a cream of asparagus soup.

Simple purees remind me so very, very much of the ones I ate in France as an exchange student.  A puree of bitter greens with a dollop of creme fraiche was our normal summer dinner.  Utterly delicious, simple, and fast.

Let's go, then!

Cream of asparagus soup

Ingredients: Canned asparagus, broth, onion, creme fraiche (or any dairy product to make your puree creamy), thyme, salt, pepper
This is not a recipe so much as a guide on how to use the ingredients.  It's a flexible and forgiving "recipe", so make it to your tastes and in the quantity you need/want.

Chop up the onion.  I was initially only going to use half, then changed my mind and did the whole damn thing.  Hey, it was my dinner, right?

Put the onions in a pan with some butter or canola oil and cook slowly until they're soft.  We got a really great All-Clad pan as a wedding gift, so I needed very little fat.

Drain the asparagus in a strainer or colander, then dump it into the softened onions.  I had about a quart of asparagus.

Add in the broth, thyme, salt, and pepper.  I used about a pint of home-canned chicken broth but could have used a bit more.  Use a vegetable broth if you want to go vegetarian or even vegan.  Pop on the lid and let this cook for about 15-20 minutes. 
I'd say, "doesn't this look pretty"... but I know the truth. 

Now we puree!  I had a small enough batch that it all fit into the blender (another wedding present!).  I would have used the immersion blender had I done this in a different pot but didn't want to risk scratching that pan, my sole non-stick pan in the kitchen.

Put the puree back into the pan.  Mine was a little chunkier than it should have been because a) I didn't let the onions cook down long enough and b) it could have used more broth.  Alors, c'est la vie.

How much cream you want is up to you.  I used 1/3 to 1/2 cup of creme fraiche (homemade!) and stirred it up until it was thoroughly blended.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.

The puree was delicious and I have enough for funking-smelling pee leftovers later.  I only wish I'd had some bread to go with it.  A nice ciabatta roll would have been awesome with this.  This is a company-worthy soup or you could sex it up with some bacon. 

Because, you know, everything is better with bacon.


  1. good stuff! supposedly we have an asparagus patch in our back yard, if we find it we'll make your soup

  2. Hey Trent,

    If you make the soup from fresh asparagus, you'll need to cook it longer to soften it up.