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Winter weather where I live means lots and lots of rain. Sure, it could be worse. It could be freezing, like it is lots of places in the US, but weeks of rain have a way of making all the days seem similar and dreary. This asparagus soup is not only a great way celebrate wary spring, but also a comfort when it’s raining. Again.
Last year I wrote a recipe on creamy asparagus soup with Greek yogurt and white beans instead of actual cream. It’s pretty fun to look back and the recipe and see how far my recipes and food photography have come. While this soup has onions and asparagus, like the earlier recipe, it has an incredibly different flavor. I think the simplest way to describe it is to say that one tasted more European and this one is more Asian-inspired. With lemon, coconut milk, and ginger, this yummy soup is a far cry from the usual ‘cream of asparagus soup.’ As written, the recipe makes two big bowls or four smaller, starter-sized portions.
1 bunch of asparagus
1/2 a medium onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon of white pepper
1 3/4 cup of chicken broth (preferably homemade!)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cardamom pods
1/2 cup of coconut milk (the kind in a can, not the kind in a carton)
Cracked black pepper, to taste
2 slices of bacon
Wash the asparagus spears and allow them to drain slightly. Then, break off the woody ends and discard. Cut the spear tips off and set them aside, then cut the remaining stalks into 1" pieces.Chop the onion. It doesn't have to be minced, but try to make the pieces fairly small and uniformly sized.Heat the coconut oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. Once the oil has melted, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Sweat the onions until they are translucent but not browned, turning down the heat, if necessary.Add the chopped asparagus stalks, but not the spears, stir to coat with oil, and allow them to sauté for 3-4 minutes.Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 additional seconds.Stir in the ginger and white pepper, then add the chicken broth, lemon juice, and cardamom pods.Bring the soup to a simmer, then cover and turn the heat down to medium low and simmer until the asparagus is tender, 20-30 minutes.While the soup is simmering, cut the bacon strips into 1/2" pieces and fry in a heavy bottom skillet. Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the skillet and place it on a paper towel to drain.Turn the burner's heat down slightly, add the asparagus tips, and stir to coat them in bacon fat. Fry the asparagus is browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Once the tips are browned, place them on a paper towel and remove the skillet from the stove.Once the asparagus in the soup is tender, turn off its burner and pour in the coconut milk. Using an immersion blender, process the soup until the asparagus is mostly pureed (or until you're happy with the texture). Season with black pepper to taste.Garnish with bacon and asparagus tips and serve!
This recipe uses an immersion blender, but you can use a regular blender. Just remove the soup from the heat for about 10 minutes so steam doesn’t blow the blender’s lid off and then reheat is slightly before serving. I really love my immersion blender and don’t actually currently have a regular blender. It’s great at soups, but, man, it’s kind of tricky to make a smoothie with one! I have managed it a time or two, though.
Sorry the photos are all so similar! There just aren’t a whole lot of ways to style a bowl of soup, you know? Anyway, if you don’t have an immersion blender and are in the market, I have a basic Cuinsinart hand blender that’s served me well for several years now.
What’s your favorite spring fruit or vegetable? I actually think mine is rhubarb, but I do like asparagus, too.