After a week of frequent asparagus dishes, a day of pickling some for the pantry, I had plentiful stalk bottoms and trimmings for soup. When preparing asparagus, I snap off the woody ends where they want to break and save them for stock. Cooked down, they create an intense asparagus liquid that becomes the base for soup. Here I sautéed diced onions in a little oil, sprinkled on curry powder and stirred to cook, added the asparagus and lightly stir-fried it, added the asparagus liquid to simmer for about 20 minutes, and pureed the soup in a food processor. I separately cooked some reserved asparagus tips as garnish.
This soup is on my all-time favorites list and I have been making it for years. The warmth and heat of the curry spices create a wonderful counterpoint to the asparagus. Once pureed, it has a creamy consistency without the cream.
Curried Asparagus Soup (makes 4 servings)
1 lb asparagus, woody part removed and reserved, cut in pieces, best tips reserved
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tsp curry powder
1 qt or more asparagus stock or water
Prepare the asparagus and the asparagus stock (see below). Cook the reserved tips in boiling water until crisp-tender and set aside for garnish.
Sauté the onion slowly in the oil until wilted and add the curry powder to combine. Cook for a minute or two and add the asparagus, coating with the spice and cooking a little. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the asparagus is tender. Cool for a few minutes and puree in a food processor. Reheat and serve with the reserved asparagus tips. This tastes better a few hours after cooking since the curry powder gets thoroughly integrated and the cooked asparagus settles in to a good texture as the mixture continues to cook off the stove.
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