How’s this for a perfect springtime soup?
Asparagus, cooked with shallots in chicken stock, then blended with sherried Ricotta cheese and served warm.
And, the whole thing, with just a wee, tiny bit of prep, comes together in well under an hour, from start to finish!
Can’t beat that with a stick!
Only thing is…
If I am be totally honest, this soup, while totally delicious, is also wicked rich, and even though I served it as our main dinner course, with just some crusty French bread on the side; we were stuffed.
The next time I make this, it’ll be served in much smaller cups, mebbe chilled, and as a part of brunch.
Still and all, you want a kicker asparagus soup for a crowd? You’ve got it!
•2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 cup diced shallot
•1 bunch of asparagus
1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 cup Ricotta cheese
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 cup Ricotta
•1 tbsp Sherry
•1 tsp dried chives
*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.
Whisk the 1/4 cup of Ricotta together with the sherry and chives in a small bowl and set aside.
Cut the asparagus into one inch pieces and divide into about three cups of stems and 1 cup of tips.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the asparagus tips, cooking just until bright green and still a bit crispity – about 90 seconds. Remove the tips and place in a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any further and keep their bright green color.
Note: you want to make this vegetarian? Simply substitute your fave veggie stock.
Once the asparagus tips have cooled, drain well and set aside.
Transfer the chicken stock to a bowl or beaker, or pull out a second pot and warm the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the shallot and sauté for two minutes, then add the asparagus stalks (not the spears, those are being held to the side still), and continue sautéing for another three minutes or so, until they, too, are this lovely, bright green color.
Return the chicken stock to the pot, along with the Sherry Peppers Sauce, if using, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for three to five minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
Transfer the whole shebang to a blender jar, add the cup of Ricotta cheese, and blend until smooth.
Return this to the soup pot, give it a taste, and stir in the lemon juice, Seasoned Salt, and black pepper. Stir in the reserved asparagus spears and warm over low heat just until heated though.
Serve with crusty bread, a dollop of that sherried Ricotta cheese, and additional black pepper cracked over the top.
This was rich enough that there were easily four ample servings as a main course, and I would bet, at least eight as a starter.