Creamy Asparagus Soup: Hold The Cream

My husband and I have what we call Jew stomachs. We're not super lactose intolerant, but if given the choice, we avoid cow milk when we can. Luckily, this soup gives you all the velvety satisfaction of a cream soup, without the bloat. (or the extra calories for that matter). There is some butter in the roux but since it's low in lactose, we can both enjoy it just fine. 

It also freezes super well, so I've been taking full advantage of Asparagus season to make large batches. Then, when the fall hits, and all that's left at the market are roots and onions again, I'll still be able to warm up a bowl of spring. 

Here it is relatively step-by-step. (oh baby). 

Trim and cut the stalks, leaving tips in separate bowl. 

Trim and cut the stalks, leaving tips in separate bowl. 

It gets prettier after this. 

It gets prettier after this. 

I'm still amazed by how velvety smooth my Vitamix makes the soup. 

I'm still amazed by how velvety smooth my Vitamix makes the soup. 

It freezes extremely well, and holds together when reheated on the stove. I freeze in containers with a few of the asparagus tips in each one. Enough to have a couple in each bowl.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pds Asparagus
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp salt
7 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
1/2 cup green onion finely chopped
chicken stock
butter
flour
egg yolk (optional)

METHOD:

1. Trim and cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces, reserving the tips.
2. In large saucepan, boil chicken stock and salt (I use low sodium stock). Add asparagus tips and boil       slowly for 5-8 min until just tender. Drain stock into a bowl and reserve tips. 
3. In same saucepan, melt the butter, stir in flour and cook over low heat 1-2 min. Pour in stock and whisk till blended. Simmer till base comes to a boil, smooth and thick.
4. Continue to allow soup to simmer on low heat.
5. Melt the remaining two tbsp of butter in another skillet. When the foam subsides, add onions and asparagus stalks. Cook for about 3 min then add mixture into the soup base. Cook over low heat for about 15 min, or until asparagus are tender.
6. Puree soup in a blender, then strain back into pot. (No need to strain if using a Vitamix or something super powerful). At this point, it's already delicious, but if you want an extra touch of richness, see point 7.
7. With a whisk, blend egg yolk and add in a small amount of soup, keep adding soup till 1/2 cup has been added, then add mixture back into the bigger pot. Bring to a boil for another 30 seconds then remove from heat. 
8. Top each bowl with a few asparagus tips, and serve hot or cold.

Adapted from original recipe passed to me from my mom. 

Adapted from original recipe passed to me from my mom. 

Home Sick and Homesick

One of the things that still surprises me about living in New York is how after living in Toronto my whole life, (and living downtown for ten years before the move) my cravings for a taste of home aren’t for dishes at my favorite hip neighborhood haunts, but for food from the neighborhood where I grew up.

So as I spend the first weekend of spring home sick, I’m craving a taste of childhood. In particular, a taste of lentil soup from a Middle Eastern restaurant called Jerusalem. I was able to find the recipe online from an article in a local paper, so today I share it here for a home sick taste of home.

First rinse the red lentils and Arborio rice. 

Then sautée a small chopped onion. 

Add lentils, rice, and water to onions and let simmer. 

Add lentils, rice, and water to onions and let simmer. 

Till it looks like this. 

Add salt, pepper, cumin, parsley and green onion and simmer for a few more minutes. 

Serve with lemon, extra parsley and Maldon flakes because salt. 

Serve with lemon, extra parsley and Maldon flakes because salt. 

Jerusalem Restaurant Lentil Soup

INGREDIENTS:
3 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups red lentils
1/2 cup Italian rice
7 cups water
1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder (I used organic Better Than Bouillon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice

METHOD:
1. In a large pot, sauté the onion in oil until lightly browned.

2. Place lentils and rice in a sieve, and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water.

3. Add lentils and rice to the onions, cover with 7 cups of water, bring to a gentle boil, stir occasionally and simmer for 45 to 55 minutes or until lentils and rice dissolve and become creamy.

4. Add bouillon powder, salt, cumin, pepper, parsley and green onions, and let soup simmer for 5 minutes longer. Stir in lemon juice just before serving.