Asparagus and Potato Soup
Once Upon A Time …
If anyone would have suggested to my childhood self that I would grow up to not only like asparagus, but purposefully plant an asparagus patch in my garden, their words would have been received with an exaggerated eye roll and possibly even some gagging noises thrown in for dramatic effect. If this is news to you, please read the whole story in my post about Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Asparagus.
It is mid-June as I write this and, here in Iowa, we have reached the end of asparagus season. It is time to let those stalks grow and the patch turn into a miniature fern forest. An asparagus patch is fueled by the underground web of roots. When we stop harvesting the stalks, the roots focus their energy on expanding and recharging for next year’s crop.
If you are interested in reading more about growing asparagus, here is an interesting article with stunning photos for your reading pleasure: How To Grow Asparagus.
After an early heat-wave, we are enjoying a few days of moderate temperatures and low humidity. It is a perfect time for a fresh and healthy soup. With the last of this year’s asparagus I merged a few on-line recipes, tweaked the ingredients and ratios to my personal preferences, and created this recipe for Asparagus and Potato Soup!
Asparagus and Potato Soup
So what is it about this soup that appeals to me when I still cannot stand to eat the creamed asparagus of my childhood? First, it is the combination of asparagus and potatoes. Not only do the potatoes create the creamy texture, they mellow the asparagus flavor a bit. Second, I add some heat in the form of crushed red pepper. Next time I make this I might try adding roasted poblano peppers instead! Third, it’s all about the toppings: croutons, crispy bacon or prosciutto, and/or the roasted tips of the asparagus spears. These things combined provide balance, contrast and texture.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!
Tips for Success
The only dairy product in this recipe is butter. Olive oil is a perfectly acceptable substitute.
Don’t overcook the asparagus. Even though the cooked ingredients will eventually be pureed, you don’t want to lose the vibrant green color of the asparagus.
Roast the asparagus tips for a topping. Cut the tips off the spears, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and some black pepper, spread on a baking sheet (preferably stoneware), and roast at 425°F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to crisp.
Asparagus Potato Soup
- 1 pound asparagus spears
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1/2 tsp celery salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth divided
- 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
- 2 tbsp flour
- Wash asparagus spears and pat dry. Cut off tips and set aside for roasting (see note). Slice asparagus stems into discs about 1/2" thick. Set aside.
- Saute onion, garlic, and celery in butter until tender (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in celery salt, black pepper, Old Bay seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add 2 cups of the broth and bring to a simmer.
- Add diced potatoes. Simmer potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.
- Add asparagus discs and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth (see note).
- Return to low heat.
- Combine flour with remaining 2 cups of broth and slowly add to soup. Stir constantly until soup thickens (3-4 minutes).
- Remove from heat and serve.