Our Souper Easy series aims to make the case that homemade, healthy soup is a piece of cake. OK, flawed metaphor, but how does a delicious asparagus soup strike you — especially when we tell you the only ingredients are four veggies (or less), broth and some seasoning?
This is a soup that takes about a half-hour from start to finish. Mince some garlic (optional) and onion and sauté in a large pot. Add cubed potatoes (tip: steam or microwave them first to soften and you’ll speed the cooking process). Then add a pound of sliced asparagus and sauté briefly. Add vegetable or chicken broth to cover and season to taste with salt and your favorite herb(s).
The soup also introduces our friend, the immersion blender, a.k.a. stick blender. This gadget is handy for a lot of quick-blended items (such as smoothies). But if you like pureed soups like this one, the immersion blender will quickly become your favorite tool. Just put the blade end in the pot and hold the button done until everything is smooth. You’ll never have to make that messy (and potentially dangerous) transition of hot soup from pot to blender again.
Asparagus is usually the first local crop to hit Chicago-area farmers markets in the spring, arriving by early May. We are spoiled here because western Michigan is the nation’s second-leading producer of asparagus behind California. Since I moved to Chicago 10 years ago, I have had a tradition of buying (and photographing) the first-of-the-season asparagus from Mick Klug Farm’s stand at Green City Market in Lincoln Park.
And, since May isn’t too far off, here’s a tip: Buy extra, blanch the spears in boiling water for a couple of minutes (they’ll turn bright green), then put into freezer bags and into the freezer. I used some of last spring’s frozen asparagus in this soup.
ASPARAGUS SOUP (Serves 4-6)
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, roughly chopped
1 pound of fresh or frozen & thawed asparagus, sliced
4-6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth to cover
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. each dried dill and parsley
Instructions (you’ll need a large pot)
1) Warm the oil over medium heat
2) Sauté garlic for a few seconds until aromatic
3) Sauté onions until they start to soften
4) Add potatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes
5) Add asparagus and sauté for a few minutes if fresh and a couple of minutes if thawed
6) Add broth to cover and bring to a boil
7) Reduce heat to medium low, add salt and herbs, simmer for 20 minutes
8) Taste and adjust salt and seasonings if necessary
9) Puree to desired texture with an immersion blender and serve
Another Souper Easy article: Mediterranean Fish Soup.