It’s that time of year. Finally, we can pick early spring vegetables and herbs—but today the low temperature in Boulder, Colorado, is below freezing. For today’s Meatless Monday dinner, I’m whipping up Natural Home & Garden and Herb Companion food writer Susan Belsinger’s asparagus soup with chives—a warming early spring soup that’s rich and delicious without the heaviness of cream. This light but satisfying soup gets its substance and texture from potatoes.
Asparagus Soup with Chives
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
11/2 pounds asparagus
5 cups vegetable stock
1 medium shallot, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut potatoes into 1-inch chunks (there should be about 21/2 cups) and bring to a boil in 3 cups lightly salted water. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
Bring stock to a simmer. Meanwhile, wash asparagus and break off the tough stems. Break or cut the tender stalks into 3 or 4 pieces and add to the simmering stock. Reduce heat, cover and cook until just tender. If the stalks are pencil thin, this should take 3 to 5 minutes; if thicker, allow 5 to 7 minutes.
Reserve about a third of the cooked asparagus and puree the rest with the stock and potatoes in batches in a food processor or blender.
Soften the shallot in the butter over low heat. Return pureéd soup to the pan with the asparagus and add the shallot, butter, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup just to a simmer over low heat and ladle into warm bowls. Garnish each bowl with a few chopped chives.