When we first began dating, my husband hated any and all vegetables save for iceberg lettuce. Slowly but surely we began to add new and exotic veggies to his palate; things like romaine lettuce, green beans and asparagus. He now loves asparagus.
So last night we were out to dinner with his mother and I mentioned that I would be making cream of asparagus soup the next day, one of his favorite dishes, and his mother says, "Asparagus?! You hate asparagus!" And I admit, I experienced that tiny thrill that goes along with knowing the man your significant other has become better than his own mother, who thinks that his tastes haven't evolved much beyond chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese. Then she went and fucked it all up by getting him to try a piece of tuna sashimi, something I've been begging him to do for years now. Bitch.
Anyway, the soup. This is a favorite of both of ours. It's warm, thick, creamy and peppery, and the flavor of the asparagus really shines through. My husband would drink this by the gallon if I let him.
You start, as any soup should, with your aromatics. Half of a medium onion and 2-3 stalks of celery, diced. This time I also threw in a handful of julliened carrots because I had some that needed using up, and carrots can never ruin a soup base.
Get those sauteing in 4 TBSP of butter in the bottom of your stock pot. You can use a separate saute pan, but honestly, why do more dishes? While those are cooking, chop your asparagus, reserving the tips separately. You can use 1-2 lbs, depending on how strong you want the asparagus flavor to be. Me, I use two pounds. Peel and cube one large potato. I forgot to pick up a potato this time, so I resorted to using instant flakes instead. Trust me, use the real potato.
Once the aromatics have turned translucent, add 3 TBSP of flour and stir to form a roux. Let cook one minute, do not burn or let it over-brown, and then add 6 cups of chicken broth to the stock pot and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil and add your asparagus STEMS (not the tips) and potato cubes. Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, assemble 3/4 cup of half and half, 1 TBSP soy sauce and 1/4 tsp each of white and black pepper.
Once your asparagus and potato have softened, hit the whole thing with a stick blender. If you don't have one, get one. I can't tell you how handy mine has been for soups, hummus and alfredo sauce. (That last one I plan on writing up at some point. I'm of the opinion that homemade alfredo is so easy and tasty that it's a crime for anyone to buy the store-bought crap.) If you must, you can use a regular blender in batches. Return the soup to the stock pot and add your asparagus tips, half and a half, soy sauce and pepper. Bring it back to a simmer until the asparagus tips are tender.
There is nothing pretentious or fancy about soup, but as far as I'm concerned good soup is still one of the most delicious, satisfying foods there is.