Creamy Asparagus Soup
(Adapted from Anne Burrell)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
3 bunches asparagus, woody ends (stems) trimmed (cut an inch or two off the bottom)
5 small red potatoes, peeled and diced (could sub for two Yukon gold potatoes instead)
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig parsely
1/4 c heavy cream (optional)
1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
Coat a large saucepan with olive oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and bring to a medium heat. Season with salt and sweat until the vegetables are very soft and aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Using kitchen twine, tie the parsley and thyme sprigs together (just makes it easier to fish them out later).
Remove the tips from one bunch of the asparagus and reserve. Cut the stalks of the asparagus into 1-inch lengths and add them to the pot. Sweat for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, thyme and parsley from the soup. In a blender or with an immersion blender, puree the asparagus stock mixture. (Note, if using a blender hold a kitchen towel firmly over the top of the blender top to hold it down before you turn it on to puree.) Strain through a mesh strainer, if desired (I don’t). Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Chill.