Friday, April 2, 2010

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Birmingham is a BIG tennis community.  For a city our size, we get to see some major tennis talent play right in our own back yard.  While we don't yet host a major men's or women's tour event in the span of the past 13 months, Birmingham was the site for a Davis Cup match vs. Switzerland and in just a few short weeks a Fed Cup match against Russia will be held downtown.  So, I think it's just a matter of time before we build a facility that would draw a tour event here.


In the meantime, we get to see the future stars of the tour play in satellite events.  Like these three.....that's TJ, Shannon and Jennifer.  TJ and Shannon are here from Australia and Jennifer is from New York.  They're really fun girls and boy can they smack the shit out of a tennis ball.  A friend of mine agreed to house them for the week and they all came up here for dinner last night.  So much fun!

I'd love to be able to tell you I fed them this asparagus soup, but those girls burn more calories in a day than I do in a week and, well, asparagus soup wasn't what they were looking for last night!

But if you're looking for something delicious to make with all of that beautiful Spring asparagus that's flooding the markets right now, this is a great choice.  I first saw this recipe in the new edition of Cook's Country magazine and was intrigued, but then another blogger mentioned the same soup and I was sold.  It uses frozen peas to boost the green color and also add a touch of sweetness.  It's fresh and creamy and would be a great addition to your Easter menu!  Give it a try.

Here's the recipe:

Creamy Asparagus Soup
Cook's Country
Serves 6


2 lbs asparagus, stem ends trimmed (this equaled two bunches for me)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
salt and pepper
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Cut tips off asparagus spears and chop stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.  Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add asparagus tips and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 minutes.  Set aside.

Add remaining butter and asparagus, leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to empty pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes.

Add broth to pot and bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in peas and parmesan.  Puree soup in blender (I used food processor) in 2 batches and return to pot.  Stir in cream, lemon juice and asparagus tips and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Soup can be refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days.

And if you happen to be in the Jackson, Mississippi area next week, head out to see TJ, Shannon and Jennifer play.   It's some great tennis!

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