French Farmhouse Asparagus Bisque

Serves 4 to 6

Regardless if you’re in the city or the country, enjoy this creamy and earthy soup with those essentially French elements of leeks, potato and asparagus, and a touch of fresh chives. Gently mash the potatoes for a rustic potage, or puree it to silky-smooth refinement, and then use the sautéed asparagus tips for an elegant garnish.

1 pound asparagus
1 large leek (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
1 pound white baking potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch-thick pieces
6 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
¼ cup plain soy or coconut-based creamer
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus 1 more tablespoon for garnish

Wash the asparagus and trim away the bottom ½ inch from the stalks. Slice off and set aside the tips, and dice the stalks into ½-inch pieces. Trim the roots from the leek, then trim away the top 4 inches away from the green leaves at the other end. Slice the leek in half and run under cold water, gently pushing apart the leaves to rinse away any grit. When leek is clean, slice it into slices ¼ inch thick.

In a 3-quart soup pot heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat and sauté the leek for 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and sauté for 4 minutes, stir in the wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, potatoes, and thyme. Increase heat to high, bring to an active simmer for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 22 to 24 minutes until the potatoes are very tender and mash easily when pressed with a fork.

While the soup is cooking, over medium heat in a small skillet sauté the asparagus tips with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil for 1 to 1-½ minutes or until the tips are bright green and crisp tender. Transfer tips to a dish and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Turn off heat and remove the thyme sprigs if using. Add the soy or coconut-based creamer. Use either a potato masher and mash the soup to a chunky puree, or insert an immersion blender into the soup and puree into the smoothest soup possible; take your time to ensure the soup gets very smooth. Stir in the chopped chives and salt, then taste the soup and season with more salt to taste if necessary. To serve, ladle soup into wide serving bowls and garnish each serving with a few sautéed asparagus tips and a pinch of chopped chives.

The white stem ends of older asparagus can be filled with tough fibers. Out of season asparagus thicker than ½ inch should be trimmed by at least 1 inch from the bottom stem.

 

From Vegan Eats World
by Terry Hope Romero
published by Da Capo Lifelong