Creamy, light and simultaneously rich, this soup features a triple dose of one of spring's best ingredients: asparagus. The woody base of each asparagus stem infuses the stock with its herbaceous and grassy flavor, the middles add bulk to the soup while I add the tender tops, briefly blanched, as garnish to the soup.
Chop off the woody ends of the asparagus and reserve, and then chop the remaining asparagus into ½-inch pieces.
Slice the white and light green part of the leek thinly, reserving the dark green leaves and the root tip.
Pour the long-simmered chicken bone broth or stock into a medium saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over moderately high heat. Toss in the woody asparagus ends, leek trimmings and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, for twenty-five minutes.
While the broth simmers, melt butter in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. When it froths, stir in thinly sliced leeks and the rice. Sprinkle with salt, cover and let them sweat about 3 minutes.
Strain the stock, discarding the solids and pour the liquid into the soup pot. Stir in the asparagus. Simmer over medium heat for twenty minutes or until the asparagus and rice are tender. Turn off the heat, stir in heavy cream and puree the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth.
Season with salt, as you like it, and serve warm.
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