Sunday, February 14, 2010

Your Sunday Soup Recipe

Mmmmm, this one is a doozy. From “Saved by Soup,” by Judith Barrett. Asparagus is coming into the market now, so this is a great "Let’s Pretend It’s Spring Even Though It’s Only February" soup. I reduced the tarragon called for (1/2 cup) to about 3-4 sprigs worth of leaves. The recipe’s ½ cup just seemed to overwhelm, but you can play around with it. I suspect you could also finish this on re-heat with a little milk or cream. And/or you could also stir in a squeeze of lemon as a garnish before serving. I also tried blending it with an immersion blender and that worked fine but left more itsy-bitsy fragments and a rougher mouth-feel. Then tried using a regular blender set on Holy Cow! speed, whipping it all up in batches, and that got a much smoother, silkier feel. It’s yummy anyway you make it.

Asparagus and Pea Potage with Tarragon

2 tsp olive oil (or olive oil and butter)
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion (about 1 lb. chopped)
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cups low fat chicken broth (1 box)
1 lb medium sized asparagus spears, tough bottoms cut off, peel skin about 2/3 way up the spear to remove the tough outer skin. (or cut off about 1/3 of the bottom of the spear and use unpeeled since it’ll all be blended up anyway and that’ll give you more fiber.)
2 cups shelled fresh peas or one 10 oz pkg frozen peas, defrosted
3 springs fresh tarragon leaves
salt and pepper

Heat oil in heavy soup pot. Add onions and shallot and cook, stirring, until onions begin to soften (about 3 min.) Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until onions are tender (10 min.) Add asparagus and peas and cook until asparagus is tender.

Process in batches in a blender (or immersion blender for a “rougher” feel). Season to taste and reheat gently and serve.


Mike Green said...

Oh my Ann! Puleeeze, this is the time for red beans and rice, or Jambalaya, or Gumbo!
Leze Le Bon Temps!

Churadogs said...

O.K. yes, leze le bon temps and all that, BUT asparagus is now hitting the market at good prices, the spring spears just coming in, so it's a good time to take advantage of that. Plus, the soup freezes really well so get the asparagus on sale now while it's a supermarket loss leader, process batches and freeze for after Mardi Gras. In time for Lent. A nice green soup to welcome Spring.

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

The squeeze of lemon is just the finish to provide contrast. Perhaps a tad of hot sauce in a nod to Mardi Gras??? But not too much. This soup is elegantly subtle.

Alon Perlman said...

At 97 Cts per Pound; I felt obligated rather than inspired in this case.
And with drumsticks at 67 Cts a pound, I did not use the elegant recipe but rather, the empty the refrigerator technique. Boiled the chicken with bayleaf, 1 clove Garlic, fished out with the bones, added potato slivers, an old bag of Carrots, celery, onion. After a while I added 2 pounds of asparagus stems, cooked some more, pureed in the pot while still hot, and tossed the reserved tips and tender rounds from near the tips, back in to restore texture.
I’m sure I have some tarragon, somwhere, but after considering Curry, I added some chicken soup powder and a squirt of an Asian Chilli sauce (not sweet). So that is also what Bev is suggesting, for hidden heat.

And I forgot to add a big dollop of Sour Cream. This can be part of the soup or added right at serving. Has that acidity of the lemon, and should achieve a silkiness. (I’ve been substituting limes, for everything lemon and usually include them in the stock)

So back to the Blog recipe. I’m not sure what the difference between fresh Tarragon and dried is, but that Original recipe (1/2 Cup) is for more tarragon then I would think of using in a year. It made sense that you reduced it Ann, but I would like to see what that Original recipe tastes like.
A presentation with a tablespoon of sour cream intact in the center would contrast well, even if the flavor is overwhelming when mixed. (Tarragon- Semi subtle, easy to not use enough, easy to overwhelm).
I know of a technique where the asparagus spear is lightly Spiral-rolled under a sharp knife, that way the knife finds the place where the stem is less woody. I find that breaking the stems in small bunches by hand works faster since they will break at the correct point. And at these prices, I tossed the stem bottoms.

Churadogs said...

Alon, I found the 1/c fresh taragon was really overwhelming. All you tasted was taragon. And the difference between fresh and dry is really huge. You can certainly try the original recipe with the 1/c cup. It tastes like taragon soup rather than pea/asparagas. And, yes, breaking the stems is a quick way to get the most tender part. The reason for peeling the bottom 2/3 of the stems (after cutting off the really tough part,) is that part is perfectly good to use, just don't want the stringy tough skin, so you can peel then keep the inner part. (Can do the same with large clumps of broccoli -- peel the thick stem and use the tender center.)