Cream of Asparagus Soup

  • 3 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 each onion, yellow, chopped
  • 1 each leek, white or light green parts, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour, all-purpose
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup cream, heavy, warmed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper, freshly ground to taste
Set aside 16 of the nicest-looking asparagus tips for garnish. Coarsely chop the remaining asparagus and the stems.

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, celery, and chopped asparagus. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 6-8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, to make a blond roux, 5 minutes.

Add broth to the pot gradually, whisking well to work out any lumps. Bring soup to a simmer and cook until flavorful and thickened, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently and skim as needed.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Add reserved asparagus florets and parboil, cooking until just tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove florets with a slotted spoon and plunge them into ice water. Once cool, drain and reserve.

Strain soup, reserving both the solids and the broth. Purée the solids, adding broth as needed to facilitate puréeing. Combine purée with enough of the reserved broth to achieve the consistency of heavy cream. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Return the soup to a simmer.

Remove soup from heat and add cream and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the reserved tips.
Yield: 8 servings