Creamy Asparagus Soup

It’s spring and one of my favorite vegetables is starting to come into season! I LOVE asparagus.  My friend Jonni recently posted a recipe for a Cream of Asparugus soup that she saw in Bon Appetit Magazine.  The recipe looked great but I wanted to make it my own.  I think celery has an amazing taste and is way under-rated in cooking so I added two stalks of celery to the recipe to add a cool sweetness. I also added red onion because I love its wonderful deep flavor.  Additionally, I included shiitake mushrooms because of their earthiness and depth of flavor.  Bumping up the cream a little bit gives it a silkier feel and I finish it off with a little fresh lemon juice to round out the flavor and add a little brightness.  This was a delicious bowl of soup and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

2 Bunches fresh green Asparagus, chop but reserve the tips
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 Stalks of celery with leafy tops, chopped
1/2 c. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3 tbs. butter
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Juice of half a lemon

Chop the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces, saving the pretty tops and setting aside.  In a soup pot saute the chopped onion in 2 Tbs. butter until softened (about 4 minutes).  Add the bottom portions of the asparagus (do not add the tops), the chopped celery and the chopped mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Add 5 cups of chicken stock (or substitute veg stock) and simmer about 15 minutes until vegetable are tender.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Add in the asparagus tops and cook 8 to 10 minutes longer, stirring as needed.  Add cream and cook until warmed through.  Add remaining tbs. of butter, lemon juice and additional salt and pepper as needed.

Pour soup in bowl and swirl 1 tbs. of cream onto the tops of each bowl and serve.

Note:  If you wish to store some of the soup in the freezer for leftovers I would do so BEFORE adding the cream.  When you reheat the soup add fresh cream and finish just like the recipe indicates.

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