German Style White Asparagus Soup
White asparagus season arrives during the springtime in Germany and you can see plenty of it at the daily markets as well as listed on blackboards outside restaurants and cafes. Choose from asparagus soup, asparagus with ham and Hollandaise sauce, asparagus quiches and even asparagus ice cream in some establishments. The Germans go wild for this juicy white vegetable every year. Because white asparagus has a delicate flavor, that means the recipes it is in are usually quite simple, so no other ingredient will overpower the flavor of the asparagus.
The following recipe is made with butter, flour, chicken stock and onion, as well as the tasty pale white stalks which are the key to all the flavor. The recipe calls for heavy cream too, which is optional and you can omit it if you want, but most people prefer white asparagus soup when cream is added. This recipe makes a nice lunch or supper, or you can serve it as an appetizer. Since it is creamy (even if you do not add cream) it is best served with a non-creamy main dish, else it will be a case of creaminess overload.
You will find kids love this soup because of the smooth texture, so this is a good way to get them eating their veggies. Do you know how white asparagus is grown? The sun is responsible for making asparagus green so the asparagus is covered with earth as it grows, and not allowed to get any sunlight. White asparagus needs to be peeled because it has a skin on, although you can sometimes buy it ready-peeled.
- 1 lb white asparagus
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
- Salt and white pepper, to taste
- Parsley sprigs, for garnish
- Peel the asparagus and snap off the tips, reserving them for the garnish.
- Chop the stalks into ½ inch pieces.
- Cook the onion in the butter over a moderate heat, but do not brown it.
- Add the asparagus and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 3 minutes.
- Do not let anything brown.
- Add the stock and bring the soup to a low simmer.
- Wrap the asparagus tips in cheesecloth and add them to the pot so they can cook in there.
- They will only take about 10 minutes.
- Alternatively you can steam them.
- The soup should simmer for about 25 minutes, partially covered.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the soup and make it thick.
- Season with salt and white pepper to taste, and add the cream if you want to use cream.
- Serve garnished with the asparagus tips and some parsley sprigs.
White asparagus is prized in Germany and there is a frenzy each spring when the first harvest is due. Just as corn, crab, strawberries and tomatoes are seasonal in the United States, Germany has its own excitement about white asparagus, which is eagerly awaited each year. There are plenty of ways to serve white asparagus, such as adding ham and eggs and serving it with hollandaise sauce, or using it to make an asparagus risotto, but this creamy soup is also very popular in Western Europe, and it is very simple to prepare, offering an elegant flavor with a touch of sweetness.
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