Saturday, 2 February 2013

Cream of Asparagus Soup

We Canadians adore complaining about the weather. In fact it's our national pastime. And I guess we have a right to. God blessed us with so much! We have the best beer in the world. The best hockey teams. And our landscape is glorious, bordering on two oceans with the beautiful Rocky Mountains, the Canadian Shield and our gorgeous Atlantic provinces just to name a few. But I cannot tell you how badly our winters suck! Today it is minus 30 degrees outside. And the only good thing about it is that its too cold to snow. So no shovelling today. We take our small victories where we can get them! And the winter drags on forever and ever. With Mario away in his Motherland for a few weeks, I had nobody to complain to this morning. So I had to take action on my own to find a way to chase these winter blues away. And how better to do that than to make a nice, steaming pot of soup? But not just any soup. I wanted no reminders in my bowl that it's cold enough out there for flesh to freeze in 30 seconds. I wanted a soup that reminds me that spring will come eventually. And what is the best thing about spring? Asparagus!

So let's make some spring tasting soup! You'll need:
1 finely diced onion
2 stalks of celery
1 big bunch of asparagus
1/4 cup of butter
2 cups of chicken stock (If you use canned, watch your salt when you go to season) You can make this vegetarian by using vegetable stock and it will be just as delicious!
1 1/2 cups of milk or cream. I use half and half. Half the glory and half the calories of cream!
salt and freshly ground pepper to season.
Chopped parsley if you have any. I didn't and of course I wasn't about to venture out in the cold to get some.

Start by snapping your asparagus. Take each spear and bend it until it snaps in two. It will naturally break at the point where the tough part ends and the tender part begins. You should do this every time you prepare asparagus. Throw away the tough bottom portion. You can't use it for anything ever.
Now cut off all the tips and put them aside. They'll be the garnish.
Cut the remaining stems into 1/2 inch pieces.
Chop your onion and celery. Saute it in the butter on Med heat for about 5 minutes and add your chopped asparagus and stir that around for a minute or two. Add your chicken stock. Cover it and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or a regular blender until its very smooth.
Now here is a key part to the soup. WHISK in your cream. If you don't own a whisk and you've come this far on the blog, it's time to invest in one! They are available at any dollar store (Kelly!).
Bring it up just to a simmer where it starts to bubble, but for God sake, don't boil it!
Just before you add your cream, boil your tips in a separate pot in salted water for 5 minutes and drain them.
Season your soup with lots of freshly ground pepper and taste it for salt. It won't need much. Add a few tips on the top of each bowl when you serve it. And there you have it. A nice tasty bowl of spring in the dead of winter! Happy shovelling friends!

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