This soup has a wonderful asparagus flavor that holds up well to the large chevre crouton that is added at the end thanks the asparagus stock used instead of water or chicken stock, and the way the asparagus is sweated with sliced leek, spring onions, yellow onion, thyme and yellow mustard seed to completely soften the fibrous asparagus and bring out its full flavor. The thyme and mustard seed bring in some great herb flavors, but a little pack of herbs is in the crouton that mixes in with the soup as the goat cheese melts so if you decide (mistakenly!) to omit the chevre, you'll want to add a little more herbs and salt when making the soup. Note: the stock, which is made from the first 8 ingredients below, can be made in 1 hour and can be simmering while you prep the rest of the soup. Water or chicken stock can be substituted with ease, but you'll lose some asparagus flavor. —TheWimpyVegetarian
4-6 (depending on the size of the bowl)
Spring Asparagus Soup
bunches of asparagus (about 4 cups when ends are trimmed off)
onion, cut into 1" wedges
cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
sprigs of fresh thyme
sprigs of parsley
spring onions, white and light green parts, sliced (about 4 large onions)
Make the asparagus stock by bringing the water to a boil in a large pot. Break or cut off the bottom 3" of each asparagus stalk. Reserve the top half of the stalk for the soup. Put the bottom half of the stalk in the boiling water and add the next 6 ingredients. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Strain and set aside the stock.
Melt the butter and oil together in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-low heat. Slice the asparagus into 2" pieces, which should amount to about 4 cups. Throw them into the dutch oven along with the leeks, spring onions, yellow onion, garlic, herbs and spices. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low and sweat at a very low simmer for about 30 minutes or until the asparagus is very soft.
Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-low and add half the wine. Reduce until the wine is completely gone. Add the rest of the wine and reduce again.
Add the asparagus stock and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor and reheat over medium heat.
Add the lime juice, a splash of soy or sriracha sauce, correct for seasoning.
Serve hot with a warm goat cheese crouton in the middle. Since the crouton is already warm and the soup is hot, it can easily be stirred into the soup when it's eaten. The crouton will dissolve and flavor the soup with herbs and goat cheese.
Herbed Chevre Crouton
Heat your oven to 350F. In a small bowl, mix the chevre, creme fraiche, garlic, salt and herbs together until smooth.
Take a teaspoon of the cheese and form a small patty with your fingers about 1" in diameter. Dip it quickly in olive oil to coat both sides and then into the bread crumbs.
Bake until soft, about 4-5 minutes. With a spatula, place a crouton in the middle of the bowl of soup and serve.