Oops, it seems like I’ve been on a soup bender lately. The last time I had one of these was sometime during my early 20s where a marathon of tequila slammers and dancing constituted a good night. And sad but true, I was a heavy smoker for 12 years before finally kicking it a couple of years ago. Oh how my body was battered and bruised! Soup was therefore my best friend, through hangovers and seedy Sundays.
Thankfully my party days are way long behind me but my appreciation, nay, my deep love of soup and of turning boring solid veges into something amazing, has not waned one bit. I love heading to the markets and picking up whatever produce I feel like and subsequently giving it the soup treatment. I love having my myriad of meats, oils, herbs, spices, wines, alcohol, creams at my disposal to give the soup flavour and body. It’s like theatre and I adore it.
I prefer my soups rich, smooth and creamy and a hand blender is an invaluable tool for it. Stand blenders are good but it never gives it the smooth texture that I’m looking for and I’m terrified of it when it starts exploding and spitting hot soup everywhere. The danger is worth it though, especially for this classic Cream of Asparagus Soup, which came about because of The Captain’s recent purchase of 8 bunches of asparagus (“it was only $2!”, he protests). Sure it’s a little, dare I say it, daggy? But to me, it’s utterly comforting and the basic recipe of it allows you to adjust the flavour to how you like it. You could serve it hot and cold or as an amuse bouche. Fancy it up by serving it in glasses and dress it with a dollop of double cream or creme fraiche, olive oil and sprigs of dill. It’s utterly delicious and totally worth the um, interesting (but harmless) side effects of asparagus. (If you don’t know what I mean… google it *giggle*).
Cream of Asparagus Soup
(Serves approx 4-6)
Butter / Olive Oil
2 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
800g green asparagus (about 4-5 bunches), trimmed and chopped into 3cm lengths
125ml dry white wine
1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat a pot over medium heat and melt about 30g of butter or about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and onion and sweat over medium-low heat for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.
Add asparagus and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat and add the wine and reduce liquid by half.
Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until veges are tender and liquid has reduced by a third.
Using a hand or stand blend, pulverise the soup until smooth. Pass it through a fine mesh sieve into another pot to remove any remaining stringy fibres.
Add the cream, and slowly bring to a gentle boil. Season to taste.
Serve with a bit of cream, sprigs of dill, a pinch of cracked black pepper and a few drops of good olive oil.