Cooking at this time of year can start to feel a little…heavy. While we love a slow-cooked, all-day meaty braise loaded with root vegetables and heavy proteins as much as anyone else, all of that winter comfort-eating can start to feel like a bit too much, especially for those with diminished appetites thanks to the side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Instead, we turn to this easy Cream of Asparagus soup even in the winter months, when asparagus may not be at its seasonal flavor peak, but is still plenty serviceable when pureed into a pot of butter and heavy cream. The finished soup is silky smooth, easy-to-eat (or even sip), brilliantly colored and rich enough to be eaten as a meal (particularly with a quick garnish of butter-toasted croutons to add a little texture and crunch). A squeeze of lemon keeps the soup bright, grassy and fresh, and provides an amazing way of delivering a surprisingly large amount of asparagus in each serving. It’s equally delicious hot or chilled (if you manage to have any leftover).
Why asparagus? Asparagus is high in vitamin K, which is important for strong bones and blood clotting, and rich in antioxidants, which may help repair damage done by free radicals and even help reduce the risk of some types of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Easy Cream of Asparagus Soup
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for garnish
- Juice from one lemon
- Freshly chopped chives
- Freshly chopped dill
In a large, deep-sided skillet or small stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until just beginning to brown, about one minute. Add asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook until bright green and fragrant. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until asparagus is very tender, about ten minutes more.
Transfer contents of pan to a blender, and puree until very smooth. Transfer soup back to saucepan, stir in cream, and warm over low heat. Finish with a big squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of additional cream, and chopped chives and dill. Serve immediately, or allow to chill in the refrigerator for an hour (or overnight).