Making velvety-smooth soups is probably the most popular use of the immersion blender among consumers and professional chefs alike. Indeed, it only makes sense, since who wants to transfer a boiling pot of soup into a counter top blender or be forced to wait until it cools? An immersion blender not only allows for soup to be pureed while hot, and conveniently in the same pot it is cooked, but also avoids most of the tedium associated with cleanup as well.
Of the nearly infinite types of soup you can make, one classic is asparagus soup – which is best served very smooth. Here is a simple recipe that will impress even the most finicky family and friends.
What You’ll Need:
- one and a half pounds of fresh asparagus (with the lower, fibrous ends of spears cut off)
- one tablespoon of unsalted butter
- one large garlic clove (peeled and crushed)
- two ounces of peeled shallots
- three ounces of diced & peeled potato (red or yellow variety work well)
- a quarter cup of white wine (a dry wine is best)
- a heaping tablespoon of chopped fresh basil (or 1.4 teaspoon of dried)
- one and a half cups of chicken broth/stock
- three quarters of a teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt
- a quarter teaspoon of black pepper (fresh ground is best)
- a quarter cup of heavy cream (or half & half for a lighter consistency)
Melt the butter in a sauce pan, add garlic and shallots and saute over low heat, being careful not to brown. Separate tips from asparagus and cut remainder of spears into half-inch pieces. Once shallots soften, add the asparagus pieces and diced potato, cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until asparagus softens slightly. Now add the white wine, increase temperature until boil and then reduce, continuing until the wine has largely evaporated.
Take chicken stock, add to the mixture and bring to a boil. Once boiling is reached, switch to simmer and cook on very low temperature for roughly 15-25 minutes, or until the vegetables become very soft. Add basil. Now immerse the blender and hold toward bottom of cooking pot, begin slowly and use up and down motion, increasing speed once ingredients begin combining. Continue blending for another 40-60 seconds until smooth. Add salt, pepper and heavy cream and blend gently for 10 seconds.
Now take the asparagus tips you saved and place into boiling water for about two minutes, then dunk in cold water immediately to arrest the cooking process to ensure a firm, crisp texture.
Serve soup and place blanched asparagus tips on top. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and add a few whole basil leaves for added taste/effect if desired.