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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Creamy Asparagus/Spinach Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup
Asparagus. Spinach. Soup. Creamy. Cheap. Spring.  Deliciousness. Good for you. Make this. Soon.

Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of plentiful, cheap, pencil thin asparagus. This soup is easy to make, beautiful, delicious, and great for you. We like to have soup and sammy night at our house, and this is a perfect complement to a grilled panini.

Let's start with the veg. Gather 2 pounds thin asparagus spears, 3 leeks, large shallots,  8 cups fresh baby spinach, 2 ( or  so) large cloves garlic. I say "or so" because you can put in as much as you like. I happen to be a big fan, so I'll probably use about 4 cloves. 5 if they're small.
 After washing, chop the asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
 Stems
 Tips
Leeks: Trim. Cut off all the tough green stems and roots. Slice in half vertically. Leeks are full of sand, because they grow up in sand. They must be thoroughly washed. 
 Thinly slice horizontally into half moons and rinse under cold water, .
 Drain
In a large soup pot, on medium high heat,  melt 2 Tbls butter
 Add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes
 Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes
 Add half of the asparagus stem pieces
 Saute for about 5 minutes
 Add the minced garlic. Stir for 1 minute.
 Stir in 2 Tbls flour
This will help thicken the soup without adding too much fat and calories
Stir until you can't see flour anymore. You want to cook out any pasty taste
 Add 1/2 cup white wine to the pot. Here's a hint: If you won't drink it, don't use it in your food. Don't go overboard and buy a $50.00 Chardonnay. Here are a few affordable suggestions: Black Box or Boda box, or Barefoot chard. 
Scrape up all of the brown bits of yumminess from the sides and bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Stir it all together.
Add 8 cups simmering chicken ( or vegetable) stock to the pot. Stir
 Throw in 8 cups fresh baby spinach. Stir.
Tie up a bundle of fresh thyme (5-8 sprigs) and 2 sprigs fresh rosemary with kitchen twine. Put it in the soup pot. Stir. Simmer about 15 minutes until asparagus is very tender.
 Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the other half of the asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 5 minutes.
 Set aside.
 When the spinach and asparagus pieces (not roasted) are very soft, the soup is ready to puree.
Fish out the thyme bundle and throw it away. It's job is done.
 Using an immersion blender, blend until creamy and smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, put the soup in a blender, cover the lid with a kitchen towel, and buzz it up. Here's a hint: if your soup isn't as thick as you'd like it after blending it up, add a couple tablespoons of instant potato flakes. They dissolve instantly and have virtually no taste, which is why you should never use them as mashed potatoes. They are, however, a great thickener for creamy soups.

 Add 1/4 cup heavy cream. You can leave out the cream altogether if you want to lighten it up. It will still taste delish, just won't be as creamy. Blend.
 Add the roasted asparagus into the soup, reserving the pretty tops for the top. Spoon into soup ramekins and top with roasted asparagus tips, croutons, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and shaved Parmesan cheese.

So good!

Ingredients
2 pounds thin asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces. 
8 cups Baby Spinach 
2 large shallots, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, minced
leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
 8 cups fresh baby spinach
 2 Tbls flour
8 Cups chicken (or vegetable) stock; simmering
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp per bowl

Method:
1. Gather 2 pounds thin asparagus spears, 3 leeks, 1 large white onion, (chopped), 8 cups fresh baby spinach, 2 large cloves garlic.
2. After washing, chop the asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Dry thoroughly.
3. Leeks: Trim. Cut off all the tough green stems and roots. Slice in half vertically. Thinly slice horizontally and rinse under cold water.
4.  In a large soup pot, on medium high heat,  melt 2 Tbls butter.
5. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes.
6.  Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Add half of the asparagus stem pieces and  saute for about 5 minutes.
8. Add the minced garlic. Stir for 1 minute.
9.  Stir in 2 Tbls flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
10. Add 1/2 cup white wine to the pot. Scrape up all of the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
11. Add 8 cups simmering chicken ( or vegetable) stock to the pot. Stir
12. Add 8 cups fresh baby spinach. Stir.
13. Tie up a bundle of fresh thyme (5-8 sprigs) and 2 sprigs fresh rosemary with kitchen twine. Put it in the soup pot. Stir. Simmer about 15 minutes until asparagus is very tender.
14. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the other half of the asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 5 minutes. Set aside.
15.  Using an immersion blender, blend until creamy and smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, put the soup in a blender, cover the lid with a kitchen towel, and buzz it up.
16. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream.
17. Add the roasted asparagus into the soup, reserving the pretty tops for the top. Spoon into soup ramekins and top with roasted asparagus tips, croutons, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and shaved Parmesan cheese.







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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.