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Asparagus Soup With Enormous Croutons

serves 4-6

This asparagus soup is rounded out with leeks and green chili. I adapted the recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Soups and Stews cookbook.

Read more about this recipe at Cook & Eat.



ingredients

For the croutons:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
1 loaf unsliced sourdough or whole wheat loaf
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

For the soup:
1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed
1 large leek
1 large Anaheim chili
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
32 ounces vegetable or chicken stock
Crème fraîche for garnish

timer

prep: 20 minutes
total: 1 hour 15 minutes

tools

mixing bowl
pastry brush
peeler
stock pot
baking sheet
small pot
blender

instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic for the croutons. Cut the loaf into 4 to 6 (4 × 4-inch) cubes (remove the crusts if desired), depending on how many you are serving. Brush all sides of each crouton with the oil mixture until well-saturated. Sprinkle the tops with the parmesan cheese. Set aside.

3. Remove the tips from the asparagus and set aside. Peel the remaining asparagus stems with a vegetable peeler, and chop into 3-inch pieces. Set aside.

4. Carefully clean the leeks and finely chop the white portions.

5. Discard the seeds from the chili, and finely chop.

6. In a heavy soup pot, combine the olive oil and butter and heat on medium high until the butter melts. Add the leeks, chili and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the asparagus and potato. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the asparagus starts to soften. Add the stock and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

7. While the soup is cooking, place the croutons on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes. Flip and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

8. In a small pot, add about a 1/2 cup of water and a teaspoon of butter and heat until the butter melts. Add the asparagus tips and a dash of salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the tips start to soften. Remove from heat and set aside (draining any excess liquid).

9. When the soup has cooked for 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the contents into a blender and blend until smooth. Put back into the pot, add the asparagus tips, and return the soup to a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

10. To serve, ladle into individual bowls. Drizzle with a bit of crème fraîche, and top with one enormous crouton.



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