The weather around us has been kinda crazy lately. One day it's 75º, the next day we barely break 40º. And I just realized that my posts this week have sort of been following that extreme trend, ranging from a warm and comforting chicken asparagus entree to these very summery mango coconut ice pops. So I guess you could sort of use my food choices as a barometer for what the weather's been like (would that my cooking choices could actually predict it!). Take today for example--I'm posting this warm and soothing Roasted Asparagus Soup, so naturally yesterday's weather had to be....you got it! Downright chilly!! There's some sort of logic here, just go with me on it. This soup is so special that you will want to make it even if the weather is warm, which sort of disproves my whole earlier theory, but let's not think about that, because one taste of this velvety smooth warmness and all you will be able to think about is the divine earthy flavor of the freshly roasted asparagus coming through.. So...lets just ignore my earlier drivel (blame it on the craziness of the weather) and bring on this amazing seasonal soup!
I've made asparagus soup before and it was fine, but nothing like the deliciousness of this! I think it's due to the roasting of the asparagus, which really deepens and brings out the flavor and the addition of shallots, parsnips and an apple. Of course, it could also be the cup of wine that goes in!!
In any case, this is a soup that seems fancy and restaurant-like but it's not at all complicated to make. It's creamy but light and makes a great lunch or first dinner course. My husband and daughter both loved it and I know I'll be making it again as part of my regular spring repertoire.
Whether or not the weather is confounding you, take advantage of the short asparagus season and make this soup pronto! I just know you're going to love it!
Roasted Asparagus Soup
Makes about 8-10 servings
Prep Time: About 1 hour but much of that is hands-off time
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 shallots, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly
1 cup dry white wine (if you don't want to use wine add another cup of chicken broth)
6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped (or any other tart cooking apple)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
Juice of 2 lemons
1 1/2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, tips cut off and reserved, stalks cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup half-and-half (you can use fat-free if you like)
Chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Meanwhile melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and saute the shallots for about 10 minutes, until they're softened. Add the parsnips and cook for another 10 minutes, until they're softened too.
3. Add the wine and turn the heat up to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer for 3-4 minutes until it's reduced by half. Add the broth, apple, teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat so that mixture is just simmering and cook for 20 minutes.
4. While soup is simmering, place the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan and melt. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
5. Arrange the asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet so that the tips are on one end and the cut up pieces are on the other. Pour the melted lemon butter over the entire tray and then toss, trying to keep the different pieces separate. Roast for 6-7 minutes, until the asparagus turns bright green.
6. Place the tips on a small plate, but add the cut up pieces to the soup. When the soup has simmered for the 20 minutes, use an immersion blender to puree it in the pot. If you don't have one, you can use a blender or a food processor as well, but you might want to let the soup cool a bit before you puree or you can wind up with a serious burn! If you've used a blender or food processor return the soup to the pot. If you've used an immersion blender, the soup will still be in the pot. Add the half and half and reheat over low heat. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and stir in half of the asparagus tips. Serve immediately, garnishing the soup with more of the tips and the chopped parsley.
7. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days and reheated over a low light.
Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I left out the tarragon and subbed in half and half for the cream.