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White Asparagus Soup
A traditional German soup.
- 12 cups water
- 1 pound fresh white asparagus
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons butter, divided
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 12 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Spicy cress for garnish (optional)
Bring water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Meanwhile, trim about 1/2 inch from the ends of the asparagus. Lay spears on a work surface, then peel thin skin from each with a sharp swivel-blade vegetable peeler, starting 1 1/2 inches from the top and running the length of the spear. (Spears are brittle and can snap when peeled in midair.) Reserve peels. Gather spears into 2 bundles and tie loosely with kitchen string.
When water in pot comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Add the reserved peels, sugar, 2 generous pinches of salt, 3 tablespoons of the butter and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Return to a simmer, then add asparagus and cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Remove asparagus from pot and drain on paper towels, then set aside. Increase heat to medium-high and reduce stock by one third, about 30 minutes. Strain stock and keep hot over low heat.
Melt the remaining 9 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Do not allow flour to brown (it will color soup). Whisk in hot asparagus stock 1 cup at a time and continue whisking until smooth. Simmer soup, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Add cream and continue simmering for 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and a little more lemon juice, if you like.
Untie asparagus bundles, then cut spears into 1 inch lengths and add to soup. Simmer for 1 minute more. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into warmed bowls and garnish with spicy cress, if you like.
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Recipe reprinted by permission of World Publication, LLC. All rights reserved.
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