Asparagus Soup

I’m taking a little detour today to include a recipe for Asparagus Soup for Anita. But it can be used instead of the French Onion Soup originally intended for the Tea and Poetry Tea. April and May are the prime months for asparagus so get it while it's here!

4 quarts water
2 pounds asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 medium waxy potato, peeled and sliced
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bunch of parsley, about 12 stems, tied with string
½ to 1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a 6-quart pot.

Cut off and discard the woody bases of the asparagus. Cut off the asparagus tips and reserve them. Chop the remaining stalks into 1-inch segments and reserve.

When the water boils, put the tips in the water for 2 or 3 minutes, until they are tender but not mushy. Take them out and rinse them under cold running water. Set aside.

Put the stalks in the boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the stalks to a bowl full of ice water. Water can be discarded now.

Heat the butter in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and potato and stir every 2 minutes for about 10 minutes, until the onions turn translucent and the potatoes soften slightly.

Add the broth, the cut-up asparagus stalks and the parsley. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the asparagus and potatoes have softened thoroughly. Puree the soup in a food mill, food processor or blender.

Heat the soup, add the heavy cream and season it with salt and pepper. Add the asparagus tips directly to the soup or heat them at the last minute in a little water and arrange them on top of the soup. A dollop of sour cream can be added and the tips placed on top of it. Makes 8 servings.