Cream of Asparagus Soup

3 C asparagus (about 1 pound), chopped into 1/2″ pieces
2 C chicken broth
1/2 + 1/4 t fresh thyme, divided
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 T flour
2 C milk
Dash of ground nutmeg
2 t butter
3/4 t salt
1/4 t grated lemon rind

Combine asparagus, broth, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, bay leaf, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Use a submersion blender to puree asparagus mixture. Set aside.

In a 4-qt stockpot, combine flour and milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add puréed asparagus and ground nutmeg; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly so the soup doesn’t boil over. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 teaspoon thyme, butter, salt, and lemon rind.

Can substitute 2 C of baby carrots for asparagus, eliminating the bay leaf. Can also use 3 C of sliced leeks instead of asparagus, substituting rosemary for thyme.

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