This is an exciting time. The countdown has begun to the last day of school – less than 10 days to go; the first week of Junuary has greeted us with sunshine and warm temperatures (I swear everyone had a little extra bounce today in their steps) and asparagus is still selling at a decent price in the markets. All year I wait for my favorite veggies to go on sale…asparagus and artichokes. My rule of thumb for my green goddesses is to start looking after St. Patrick’s day (the green holiday), and by the time it is berry season they are gone – but at that point we are talking about berries…so onto something bigger and better. This year I have really been enjoying the asparagus. In fact, my children have also become connoisseurs.
The other week my husband went to the market with my younger daughter, and one of the items on the list was asparagus. My husband was eyeing up the stalks, and chose what he thought was a decent bunch. My younger daughter took one look and started lecturing him on the correct diameter of asparagus stalks. I love it, at 7 years old, she is already an expert.
Unfortunately we have eaten so much asparagus lately, my kids have started to hold up the white flag. I have tried to take a positive spin on that and think of it as a challenge. What else could I do with those delicious green stalks that would make them happy? Well, I thought about pasta with asparagus cream sauce, that was until I saw this recipe in the Parade Magazine for Asparagus Soup. What intrigued me most about this recipe was the use of evaporated milk. What a great addition. I have made asparagus soup without milk or cream, but I love the creaminess that it brings. The girls loved it too.
As asparagus season comes to a close, don’t you want to try something new? Isn’t it time to shake things up a bit? I know I’m ready for that. And a sunny Junuary might just give people the energy and inspiration to do so.
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup evaporated 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- parmesan cheese, grated
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus; reserve tips of 8 spears. Cut the remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot; cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook one minute. Add the asparagus, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Blanch the asparagus tips in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain.
Puree soup either using an immersion blender (easiest) or in batches in a blender. Return to the saucepan over medium heat and add evaporated milk and lemon juice. Warm though – although don’t let simmer. Top with tips and add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
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