In less than 24 hours we will be on a plane to Jamaica, suckers! <—that sassyness right there is an ode to my future 6 year-old niece whose adorable self screamed “SUCKERS!” while doing a ballet jump across a hallway in her pj’s for no reason.
For those of you who are not aware (aka everyone except my mom who reads this blog, HI MOM! LOVE YOU!) I have not been nowheres, travel-wise. Technically, I have been to Canada – but when it’s Windsor, Canada and you’re from Michigan that absolutely does not count. So this Jamaica trip is a big deal and I get to use my passport for the first time! Yay!
Also, the concept of “All Inclusive” is totally amazing to me. Granted I’m sure that this won’t be like, 3 star michelin restaurants (even if they were we’ll prob be too many pina coladas deep to handle something like that, SORRY MOM!), but the idea of just not paying for stuff directly is awesome.
And for all you poor souls that are stuck in cold weather, I figured that I would give you another soup (yes, this is like, my umpteenth soup on here but I don’t care because I LOVE SOUP) – Creamy Asparagus Soup to be exact. Michael looooves asparagus and, surprise surprise, I’m not the biggest fan. I find that I can consume more veggies in soup form so I thought, why not?
This recipe comes from some guy named Emeril. J/K guys, I know who he is – and he ain’t famous for no reason! This soup is amazing. Check it…
What you will need:
- 2 large bunches of asparagus
- 8 cups chicken stock (two boxes is perfect)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup minced shallots
- 1 cup minced leeks, whites only, well rinsed
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 cup light cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan for garnish
Step 1: Wash Asparagus and Leeks
I had never worked with leeks before this endeavor In fact, I was so unfamiliar with them in their natural state that I thought they were related to potatoes…. Anyway, these babies are filled with dirt! When I started washing them and peeling back the little green layers I was met with mud! Gross! Not expected, leeks. So yeah- wash your leeks and the asparagus nice and good.
Step 2: Heat Your Stock
In a large pot, pour the 8 cups of chicken stock and heat until it boils. Put ice in a bowl of water and let chill.
While this is happening, move on to Step 3!
Step 3: Get the Stock Going
There are 3 different parts to the asparagus that you will use. You will use the “woody stems” – Emeril Lagasse, folks - for the stock, the main part for the cooking and pureein’ and the florettes for a garnish/texture.
These are the woody stems that you need to cut off.
Cut the rest of the asparagus into the two remaining parts.
Put the woody stems aside (to the right here) then chop the middle parts and put them also to the side, as well as the florettes, seen above the woody stems.
When the stock comes to a boil, add the woody stems to it and let them simmer for 20-30 minutes, that way we can infuse the stock with extra asparagus flavor.
While the stems are simmering, move on to step 4.
As you can see, when the stems are done infusing, just strain them out and toss the stems.
Step 4: Prep the Rest of the Veggies
Chop the shallots! Shallots are awesome because they are like mini condensed onions.
Very powerful flavor and they will BURN YOUR EYES OUT!
And guess what is not in the potato family but is in the onion family? That’s right friends, the Sneaky Leek! Which also burns your eyes out! Gah! To combat this horrible situation, I am proactive and wear snowboard goggles. For real. This is not for comedic effect and it does work.
You will only want to use the white part of the leek, fyi. Mince it!
Next chop yo garlic.
You wanna know what’s crazy – I can’t tell if these are Michael’s fingers in this picture. How sad is that?
Step 5: Blanch the Florettes
In my last post we learned about blanching. Superfancy!
We want to blanch the florettes to make the a little tender. You can use the florettes simply as a garnish for the end, but because this soup is pureed we actually mixes some in just to add texture.
After you remove the stems from the stock, just place the florettes in there for about 3 minutes and then strain them out and into the bowl of ice water.
Step 6: Cook the Veggies
After you’ve strained the broth of both stems and florettes, just keep the broth on low while you do this step.
First, melt the butter slowly and steadily in another pot.
Next add the shallots and leeks and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute (“until fragrant” according to Emeril, “dont’ burn it!” according to me).
Next add the rest of the asparagus that you haven’t used yet, the “middle stems” if you will. And also add the salt and pepper. Cook for a little bit, about 3 minutes again.
Step 7: Soup Makin’ Time!
After all your veggies have cooked for about 10 minutes total (I’m talking, start of shallots to end of asparagus), you want to add them to the stock and crank up the heat!
Simmer for about 30 minutes until the stalks are very tender.
Once tender, remove from heat and using My Favorite Kitchen Tool, aka an emulsion blender (you can use a regular blender too) blend the soup into it’s creamy form. This is also the time you want to add cream – but honestly, that’s your prerogative because the emulsion blender makes it creamy to begin with. We also sprinkled about 1/2 a cup of parmesan in there too.
I think you could make this a vegan soup by omitting the butter, cheese and replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock…but I’m not vegan and I like cream and butter so we shall never know.
And there you have it!!
This soup is so incredibly satisfying and delicious. A parmesan crostini would be a great addition as a side to dip but we found that putting the florettes in the soup added a nice crunch that was healthier. I also don’t think I used as much cream as Emeril suggested and ALSO, because I’m on a hot sauce kick, this was actually really good with a splash of hot sauce added to it.