Amanda & Merrill

Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Tarragon

April 13, 2010

Asparagus Soup

One of the most valuable lessons my mother ever taught me in the kitchen was to add a splash of fortified wine -- sherry, brandy, Cognac -- whenever I'm making a vegetable soup. With just the right amount, you get an extra layer of flavor without actually making the soup taste boozy. While I favor sherry for richer soups like pumpkin or corn chowder, I like Cognac for a light spring purée like the asparagus soup below. A hit of fresh tarragon plays up the grassy nature of the asparagus, and a bit of Greek yogurt lends creaminess without muffling the other components.
Cream of Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Tarragon
Serves 4 as a starter
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 1/2 lbs. asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Splash of Cognac (sherry or brandy will do)
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
1. Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for a minute to soften slightly. Turn up the heat to medium high, add the asparagus and salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two, until the asparagus turns a vibrant green. 
2. Add the Cognac or sherry or whatever you're using, the nutmeg and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Cook for another thirty seconds and then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the asparagus is just tender when pierced with a knife, another 3 or 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the tarragon.
3. Carefully purée the hot soup in two batches using a blender and adding half of the yogurt to each batch. Put the puréed soup through a medium-fine strainer to get rid of any fibrous bits. Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if necessary. To reheat, bring the soup to just below a simmer over medium heat, ladle into individual bowls and add a dollop of yogurt to each.
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GreenChef April 18, 2010
I find it quite easy to just copy and past the recipe into a Word doc and save forever.
Love your work, folks.
Maryanne H. April 18, 2010
Just wondering - it would be nice to be able to print out recipes w/o all the other stuff on the page. Please give some thought to this, thanks.
Kristen M. April 20, 2010
We've now added this recipe to our database, where you can easily format for printing on the right side of the page. Here's the link: Enjoy!
Maryanne H. April 18, 2010
This sounds so much better than what I was going to do with asparagus today - a change in plans!
lennie April 14, 2010
I love this but am hoping I could make this as a cold soup. What do you think?
TheWimpyVegetarian April 13, 2010
I love the idea of adding the fortified wine. I typically do soy sauce, sherry wine vinegar, etc to round out the flavors but had never thought of just going with sherry, etc. I just made some pea soup that I usually add a splash of soy sauce to at the end and used sherry instead. It's amazing! Love this idea.
Merrill S. April 14, 2010
So glad you liked it! Sherry + peas = heaven.
mrslarkin April 15, 2010
Really?? I'm going to have to try some with my pea soup! Didn't Sasha do a video on sherry? Going to search for it now.
Kelsey B. April 13, 2010
Yum! Great tip on the cognac, too. I'll keep that in my back pocket for all of the summer vegetable soups coming up!
Merrill S. April 14, 2010
Let me know how it goes!
shayma April 13, 2010
i love that idea- i've never done it- i have some wonderful sherry at home, ooh, and cognac! and love the greek yoghurt touch.
Merrill S. April 14, 2010
The yogurt makes it creamy but keeps it bright. This was the first time I'd used it in asparagus soup, and I really liked it.