Friday, 30 May 2008

The Prancing Pony's Soup of the Day

My goodness. I was on a roll there for a while. But, as summer came, writing was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides, my hard drive failed and I am currently sans laptop. Nevertheless, I am still cooking (unfortunately at times) and still experimenting.

I am making soups for a local business in the small town I call home and today I made something different. In this part of the world, some people like to cook to season. Sometimes I do. In this case, asparagus has come to town from local farmers and so I am obliged to help out the local economy and use what they grow.

Asparagus is my favourite vegetable. It has a nice natural tang, it goes well with everything, it looks great on a plate (height, contrast, appearance) and it's really easy to cook. On top of that, you can eat raw, steamed, blanched, sautéed or cooked and served cold. Brilliant.

This soup (another soup I know) is essentially a variation on the standard theme. I imagine you may start seeing a reoccurring theme.

With the asparagus, trim only bit of the woody part. After liquefying the soup, it adds to the flavour and helps thicken the soup.

Asparagus Purée with the Village of Brie

2 Shallots, roughly cut
1 Clove of Garlic, crushed
2 Bunches of Asparagus, roughly cut (save one spear for garnish)
1 Sprig of Basil
3l Vegetable Stock
20g Brie (basically two slivers; one for thickening, one for garnish)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a soup pot, sauté the garlic and the shallots until golden. Add chopped asparagus and cook for one minute. Add stock and basil. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for ten minutes.

Add half of the brie and stir. With a hand blender, liquefy the soup until desired texture. Season to taste.

In a separate pan, sauté the remainder of the asparagus and add so the soup. Chop up remainder and add to the soup.

Serves 6.

A Humble Chef's tip: Don't forget to not cover the vegetables when they're cooking through.

Variation: If brie is unattainable, go ahead and use camembert (everybody has camembert in their fridge for back-up).

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