Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cream of Asparagus Soup - For the Love of Spring

It’s not quite spring yet, but this young man’s fancy has already turned to love. No, not that kind; I’m talking about my love for this ultra-easy, and gorgeously colored, cream of asparagus soup recipe. For me, asparagus is one of those rare vegetables that shines brightest when enjoyed in soup form.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fresh spears, and have posted many recipes featuring them, but for pure asparagus goodness, you just can’t beat a perfectly made bowl of soup. There are no tricks or secret techniques here; just make sure your onions are fully cooked before adding the asparagus, and other than not over-cooking it, there’s not a lot that can go wrong. 

Testing the vegetable’s doneness by pressing them against the side of the pot should eliminate any guesswork, but if unsure, err on the side of slightly under vs. slightly over cooked. The other decision you’ll have to make is whether to strain or not. I recommend it, but totally understand if you don’t. The soup is great as is, but straining out the woodier fibers does give it a finer, more velvety texture.

Of course, the float of Parmesan and lemon cream on top is optional also, but pretend it isn’t. It adds a great visual element, and adds a little extra richness to the soup’s lean, green goodness. I hope you fall in love with this soup soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 1 1/2 quarts of soup:
2 tbsp butter 
1 diced onion
2 pounds asparagus
salt to taste
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
cayenne to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg (I forgot to mention in video, but just add with other spices!)
1/2 cup of heavy cream

For the cream topping:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp lemon zest
*whisk for minute until frothy and slightly thickened

View the complete recipe


Chelsea Marrs said...

Love your blog! I think this is the first time I've seen a video in a food post...and I like it!

Inspiring to a newbie blogger like myself.

Follow back if you can :)

Chelsea M.

Varun Prasad said...

Chef John,

I cannot remember the last video you posted I did not enjoy. Your videos are so delicious/achievable/enjoyable.

Thanks so much for your effort. Wish you were on Food Network as opposed to a hack like Sandra Lee or a hypocrite like Paula Deen (teaches and promotes unhealthy oily food for over a year and half while hiding the fact that she has diabetes and cannot eat any of the recipes she is promoting).

Chef John said...

thank you!

Ryan said...

Can this be served cold? or must it be hot when served?

Chef John said...

Not sure! I've never tried this cold.

Jeff Ironmonger said...

Chef John,

Been a fan for years. Many thanks. As a taste note... have you ever tried using white pepper instead of black? I fell i love with this soup while working in Costa Rica for a few months last year and that's how they serve it there. It's typically sprinkled on top and pushes the dish into a whole different category of soup/OMG.

Thanks so much for all the help over the years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jeff! Chef John is away on a well deserved vacation, so I'll be covering some of the questions for the time being. White pepper is definitely an acquired taste. You'll find it that you would need to use a considerably smaller amount of white pepper than you would black pepper. Glad you have been a fan for years!

Foz said...

I made it, it was great and I LOVED it, I over-did the cayenne pepper a bit, I must say, but learned my lesson, and LOVED it still.
Thank you Cheff john.


Aaron said...

I have made this recipe twice, once with onions and once with leeks. Both times it was delicious! I brought this as my dish to Easter dinner and received many compliments.

Thank you, Chef John, you really do inspire and motivate me to keep cooking. Our whole family benefits.

Rock on!

Unknown said...


Angelmichu said...

Chef john, you should redo the broccoli soup video! And probably do the Broccoli Cheddar soup? :P

Anyways, this looks really good, unfortunately my husband hates asparagus :(

Crystal said...

I completely love your recipes! The asparagus soup was simply fantastic. I can only find the small skinny asparaguses but it worked! I was attempting to make a veggierian soup and so I subbed the butter with olive oil. It still worked so.

Haha thanks!!!!!! :D You inspire me to cook!

Willie Dukeshire said...

This is a fabulous recipe,my wife will go crazy for this,thanks so much,and yes I will use homemade cremfraise or cremfresh, she loves when I make that also. You da MAN!

Unknown said...

Just made this while the GF was making some cheesy english muffin crab melts she found on pintrest. Turned out awesome! They really complimented one another and it was totally unintentional. So do you (Chef John or anyone who has made this) have any suggestions on what to use to fortify or add some substance to this. Some chunks of something in this would be great. The only thing i can think of is maybe mushrooms or just chunks of half stale french bread.

Chef John said...

not a fan of stale bread, but croutons, yes! thanks!

Moonwalker said...

Chef John, thank you for your hard work - I basically learned to cook by watching your videos. Regarding the asparagus soup, I have a French cuisine book where they have a similar recipe. They also recommend to put some cooked CRAB MEAT in the middle for garnishing. Just an idea. Maybe expensive, but worth it for an extra special occasion?

Karen Hall said...

I accidentally overcooked a bunch of asparagus on new years--I was intending to use it as a fondue dipper. I was looking at this sad, wilty grey-green mess, and thought maybe I could make soup out of it. So I followed your recipe, and just closed my eyes during your directions not to overcook the asparagus. Despite my asparagus mistake, this soup was insanely delicious. I cannot wait to make this again and actually do it right. Thanks for teaching me how to cook!

Unknown said...

I like your blog but disagree that you need to put chicken broth or even vegetable broth in this soup. When I make my version I save the top 1/3 of the asparagus and peel them. I also blanch them saving the water from that as the vegetable stock. I then use those asparagus tips to put in the soup at the end. The remaining part of the asparagus I shred using a food processor cooking that in the reserved blanching liquid adding onions garlic etc. Then I further puree it and strain it adding butter and cream. I also make garlic croutons as a garnish for the soup.this way it's a richer asparagus flavor versus having the chicken broth mssking the true flavor of the asparagus.

aunt choody said...

What a gorgeous soup! Thank you!

nova said...

another great option for topping is horseradish cream (about 1/4 parts regular prepared horseradish (like you do in another video or same sort purchased) and 3/4 part heavy cream mix well), amazingly perfect compliment.

Celivia said...

Wow I just made this and it was so delicious, I cannot wait to make it again! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

Brenna said...

This recipe has been a family favorite for years! I made some the other day. My only problem is getting people to try it. But people don't want to even try it because *gasp* it's GREEN!

Unknown said...

Really enjoy your blog. I love this recipe but with St.Patty's around the corner tried some pickels carrot to garnish as well as the cream. It complimented the taste beautifully, added a crunch and was easier then imitating wool sweaters on cottage pie!

Unknown said...

I Fried 1 cup of finely diced chorizo sausage until crisp, put aside and sautet the onions in the rendered fat. After straining the soup i put the chorizo back in. I dont know if i Like it more cold than Hot, but Overall for loosing the beautifull Green color it gets even more Ich delicious

Unknown said...

I thank you so much for this delicious recipe. I am so glad I happened to stumble on this brilliant recipe. I did substitute leeks for the onion...just because I had them & they were six weeks old. I did add a little garlic with the leeks & I would not change a thing except for using plain Greek yogurt in the swirl & the soup if someone was trying to loose weight & still wanted to enjoy this precious soup.