With New Year’s Day less than a week away, I’ve found myself not wanting to wait until the traditional January 1st to promise myself that I’ll turn over a new leaf here and there in my life — or perhaps nine. Do I hear 25? After all the cookies and cooking, left-over food, and dishes to be washed, I’m ready for uncomplicated recipes, less sugar, and more vegetables. While I’m on the subject, a personal chef would be great, too, but since that isn’t going to happen any time soon, I’ll settle for a soup that’s healthy and easy to prepare. It’s elegant enough for a formal dinner, but is fabulous heated up for lunch when you want something flavorful and light.
This recipe for asparagus soup is different from a delicious Cream of Asparagus Soup I made recently in that it doesn’t contain milk products to achieve its creaminess. Instead, a potato is cooked and blended with the other ingredients to thicken the soup. Should you want a richer soup, a liberal drizzling of a good quality fruity extra virgin olive oil is enjoyable, but not necessary.
If you are one who appreciates a bit of cheese in soup, crumbled feta, goat’s cheese, or a curl of Parmesan are especially nice swirled into a hot bowl of this.
2 lbs. asparagus, peeled, woody stems removed
3 T extra virgin olive oil plus 1/4 c. additional (optional)
1 lg. brown onion, peeled and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lg. russet potato, peeled and diced
8 c. hot vegetable broth, low sodium
1 T fresh oregano, fresh
salt & cracked pepper to taste
feta, goat’s cheese, Parmesan to finish (optional)
Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Drop the asparagus into salted, boiling water and cook about 3 minutes or until it turns bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice bath to stop the cooking. After it’s completely cooled, remove the tips and set aside. Chop the asparagus stems and reserve.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 T of olive oil. Add the onion and saute until it’s very soft and nearly translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, cooking 1 minute longer. Add the potato dice and stir, cooking for 2-3 minutes before pouring in the hot vegetable broth and oregano. Bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the potato is fork tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add the asparagus stem pieces and remove the skillet from the burner.
In batches, ladle the mixture into a blender and puree well. If you’re going to add the olive oil, do so now. If desired, once completely blended, pour the soup through a chinois for a more velvety soup.
Garnish with the reserved asparagus tips, cheese, or if you chose not to add the olive oil to the soup during blending, then drizzle over each serving now.
- When we go to Las Vegas, we enjoy Todd English’s Olives restaurant at Belagio. This recipe is an adaptation of his Asparagus Soup with Oregano and Feta Cheese available here.
- Don’t skip the step where you have to peel the asparagus stems and remove the woody stems. I learned that years ago, ending up with a stringy soup with chunks of tough asparagus.
- Talk about messing up my kitchen — I normally use my immersion blender for soup like this, but it wasn’t doing a great job, so I poured it all into my Cuisinart. Suffice it to say that that was a liquidy mess, so the blender was the best choice. Pureed the soup efficiently, and allowed for easier pouring into the chinois.
- The original recipe called for the asparagus tips to be sauteed briefly with the feta. Although the flavor was good, they weren’t exactly beautiful, so I’d recommend adding the cheese separately. We had cheese-covered tips left over and that was quite sad.
- This soup is easy to make ahead: cool completely at room temp, store in a well-sealed container and refrigerate. Reheat the soup as needed.