Asparagus, Spinach and Leek Soup; not using stem ends

I may have mentioned that we’ve been eating a bit of asparagus lately.

I started feeling ever-so-slightly guilty about tossing away the stem ends of the green asparagus.

For those who don’t know, white asparagus is treated differently – it’s peeled and just a tiny bit of the stem end is trimmed.

The green is snapped and sometimes there are 2 or even 3 inches not used.

Surely there’s something that I could do with the tough parts other than add them to the compost…

Soup seemed a likely candidate.

I Googled.

I found lots of recipes for asparagus soup using the heretofore wasted stem ends.

Well, if all of those people could do it, so could I.

I made soup.

Apparently the stem ends on the other side of the pond are more tender then the stems ends here in French farm country.

My soup, while delicious, was inedible.

I had cut the stem ends into half inch lengths, thinking it would be easier to purée.

My soup was filled with half inch fibers that felt like small fish bones.

Even after extensive time in the blender.

On maximum.

On the positive side, they were big enough that I could strain the soup using my jelly skimmer (very large holes) and catch them all without having to thin the soup to get it through a regular strainer.

After straining sieving, the soup was both delicious and edible.

I suggest you use the good parts of the asparagus, as directed in the recipe.

Asparagus, Spinach and Leek Soup

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, sliced, using light green and white
  • 10oz (300gr) green asparagus, trimmed, cut into small pieces, tough ends discarded
  • 2 cups (16oz, 480ml) chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tbs celery leaf flakes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3oz (90gr) spinach, washed, trimmed if needed
  • 1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) milk optional

Asparagus soup

Instructions:

  • In a large saucepan sauté leek in olive oil until tender.
  • Add asparagus, stock and all remaining ingredients except spinach and milk.
  • Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until asparagus is very done, about 20 minutes.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted, 2 – 3 minutes longer
  • Purée in blender, using only as much stock as needed, reserving the rest.
  • Add as much of the remaining stock and / or milk to get your preferred consistency.
  • Return to heat and heat through – or chill and served cold.
  • To serve: ladle into soup plates and add some fresh pepper.

Print Recipe

For the record – I cooked my stem ends about twice as long.

I just had to take a photo of my eggs….

I know it’s very popular in the US to buy farm fresh, organic eggs from free range chickens.

These are the eggs I bought last week:

eggs

I got them at the supermarket, as I always do.

The carton says that the hens are free range.

I believe it…..

On our weekly walk we go by an ‘egg’ farm. There is a huge coop on one end of the field and the chickens are all running around like, well, chickens, all over the rest of the field.

There are hundreds of them, all brown of course (thus the brown eggs).

Twice a year he sells them all and spends a week (or so) cleaning and, we assume disinfecting and doing whatever to the coop.

Eggs aren’t washed before sale here like they are in the US – which is why they don’t need to be kept in the refrigerator.

One gets used to the occasional feather, bits of straw and, er, other stuff.

Farm life and all.

Which reminds me…  I counted 10 calves in the herd across our little lake just now.

Spring!

Last update on May 20, 2016

5 thoughts on “Asparagus, Spinach and Leek Soup; not using stem ends”

  1. I know what you mean about soup made from asparagus stalks. We tried it once and pretty much loathed it.

    But. We’ve used the stem ends in Asparagus risotto by whirring the UNcooked asparagus ends in our magic bullet and then adding the lovely green sludge at the last minute to the risotto. We parboil the asparagus spears and gently stir them into risotto that has been made with stock. That risotto was brilliant.

    Here is a post I wrote about asparagus risotto: http://etherwork.net/blog/use-all-of-the-asparagus-for-asparagus-risotto/

  2. I have always just composted the stems. Your soup looks so great so one day when I am not living in Morocco I will give it a go. I have only once seen asparagus in the souks here.

  3. M. Pepin says you can peel the stem ends with a veggie peeler so as not to lose so much length. Apparently, it’s the outer stalk that’s tough. I have to admit I haven’t tried it, even though it does feel wasteful to throw away the ends.

  4. Lovely soup Katie. I always use the ends in soup – great to make a veggie stock too. I just learned that one can eat the beautiful greens from radishes – they are delicious in a salad…all those years I thru them away!

  5. Elizabeth, good idea to do puree them uncooked. I tried the same with cherry tomatoes last summer to add to soup, The cooked skins stayed like needles but the raw blended nicely. Thanks for the link.

    Kate, me too, and I shall continue to compost them lol

    Zoomie, I have to peel the white…. I;m not going to start peeling the green. Not when I can buy so much of it. I can be wasteful once in awhile lol

    Ina, for flavoring a stock they would work great. As to the radish greens – I know one can at them… I need to try them this spring. I have some coming up at the moment.

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