Cream of Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Tarragon

April 20, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4 as a starter
Author Notes

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. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 2 large scallions, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1 1/2 pounds 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • SGSF
  • Assya
  • cheese1227
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs

9 Reviews

KarenAnn May 18, 2022
Swapping out the scallions with leeks, and replacing the yogurt with a dbl dose of heavy cream allowed to asparagus to really shine in this soup. I'm talking Michigan spears, the fat ones, the ones we wait all year to devour!
bayleaf July 9, 2018
My past history with asparagus soup has been disappointing - a greyish green, not very appetizing. This recipe produced not only the right bright colour, but delicious depth thanks to the splash of cognac! Great tip! I used butter rather than oil, only had shallots in the fridge, and my just almost past its best bunch of local asparagus was transformed. Forgot about the tarragon, didn't need it.
SGSF April 8, 2013
Delicious soup, and very fast. Picked up some nice tips from other commenters (thanks!) and substituted mint for the tarragon as it was immediately available. Great!
sharli February 2, 2013
Simply divine soup.....don't miss out on it folks!!!!
Dearinger April 5, 2012
Great Soup!
I made a few edits. I cut the asparagus in 1/2 inch lengths and kept the fiber in. I used an immersion blender.
Fabulous! I will make it again.
Assya May 31, 2011
Dear Merrill,

I don't drink alcohol. Do you think sherry vinegar is a good substitute ? Thank you
cheese1227 May 9, 2011
Just made this for a friend's birthday luncheon today and it is lovely!
[email protected] April 26, 2010
I just cooked this soup for my family, and while we all certainly enjoyed it, I feel it "needed" something - what it needed, I'm not so sure. Maybe more salt would have done the trick. That said, we are vegetarians, so I used vegetable stock; perhaps that was the lacking link.
I'll try it again, though.
Merrill S. April 26, 2010
It may in fact have been the vegetable stock. I find most veg stock has a heavy, sweet taste that tends to dampen other flavors. Maybe try it with water next time, and definitely don't be shy with the salt -- it will really make the asparagus sing. Let me know how it goes!