Looking for a new way to enjoy asparagus? No? Well, we were. Really, the only way I prepare asparagus is snapped and washed, in a pan with a little butter and a little water, sprinkled with a dash of salt and steamed for 5 minutes. This is a wonderfully easy way to have asparagus (see TWO recipes in one post!) but it gets old. So I found this recipe off the Food Network with a disclaimer that made me laugh. Basically it said “we don’t know how this will turn out, try at your own risk.” Apparently, it was from a show they did where a restaurant chef reduced his bulk recipe for the show but they didn’t actually make it? I don’t know. There weren’t any reviews for the recipe either for me to go off, maybe nobody else tried it either. Either way, I did! It actually turned out really good and wasn’t difficult to make. It was a nice change with our meals since we don’t have soup often even if it is summer. I think it has a wonderful blend, slightly spicy, creamy and a hint of wine all with a light asparagus flavor. Another great reason to make your own soup is that this one is easy, there aren’t any ingredients in it you can’t pronounce, and the salt content is MUCH lower. As an RN I know there are good reasons to include some salt into your diet but so many of our foods are loaded with it and hardly taste salty at all sometimes. Soup, frozen dinners, canned goods and deli-meats are huge contributors to hidden salt intake. No extra salt hiding here!
The hot mess of ingredients:
- 2 Tbs butter (I used 1 Tbs)
- 1 yellow onion, rough chop
- 1.5-2 lbs peeled and halved asparagus = about 3.5 lbs whole asparagus (the peeling is NOT necessary…you can if you want to throw all that fiber and vitamins down the sink)
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth (I used up my veggie broth and ran out…finished with some homemade, stored chicken broth)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup fat-free half and half (oxymoron I know, but it does exist! Land-O-Lakes and Publix sell some)
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- kalamata olives – pitts removed, drained and cut. *this is really very good, I don’t recommend leaving these out!
Optional garnish: thin shred Asiago cheese or fresh parsley…or both.
In a large pot, melt the butter and saute the onions until they’re soft (not brown, we’re going for a specific color and texture here). Add in the asparagus, broth and wine. Bring to a boil on medium, and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes for the asparagus to get soft. Let the soup cool a little, then spoon it into a blender and puree it. It may take several batches unless you’ve got a giant blender. You could use an immersion blender I suppose, as long as it pureed well enough. I may try that next time. Anyway, after the soup is all blended and soupy, add in the half and half. Turn the heat down to low, add in whatever salt and pepper you like and serve! Place a teaspoon of the cut olives in the bottom of the bowl before ladling out portions. Oh yeah, pop on the garnish if you have it. Bon Appetit!
This is MOSTLY on the Dukan Diet. If you’re being super strict, then the wine spoils the whole dish. I don’t think it’s enough to matter overall and you can reduce it if you want (who wants LESS wine I don’t know) . If you’re not on the Dukan Diet, then this dish is perfect! There are studies that show people who eat soups before a meal tend to eat less over their meal. Basically, drinking water and/or having soup fills you up and most soups (except full-fat creamy or cheesy soups) are low-calorie. Common sense will tell you that a broth based soup will almost always be healthier and lower calorie than a creamy counterpart.
As a side note: if you aren’t familiar with cooking fresh asparagus there is one thing you have to do for it to be edible. Asparagus is high in fiber, especially the cut end. You need to snap or cut that end off, about an inch to 1.5 inches from the bottom. Usually, if you hold the asparagus by the middle-ish and the end and bend it, it will snap at the weak point, which is where it’s less fibrous and tastier anyway. I made this twice, once peeled (which is why the soup is less green in the picture) and once not peeled. The only obvious difference was the color, otherwise, more fiber baby! To be honest I like the color of the peeled asparagus better, more yellow-green but the peeling was so time consuming I don’t know if it was worth it to have a squash colored soup instead of a pea-colored soup. Oh yeah, and if you didn’t know, asparagus will make your pee smell funny. You’re OK I promise ;o)
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