For our second day of Soup Month 2013 we are going a little more fancy with a special occasion soup, and we combined two of my favorite ingredients, fresh asparagus and silky Brie cheese. This soup is definitely not low-calorie, but with its rich, creamy and almost velvety texture, I wouldn't change a thing.
Asparagus Brie Soup would be great served as a first course for a holiday dinner, and would pair nicely with Prime Rib, roast pork loin or even grilled salmon or swordfish. You could even serve it with a mixed greens salad and a glass of Chardonnay for a lighter meal.
This is a very easy soup to make and tastes better than any restaurant soup I've ever tasted. Start to finish, this soup will be ready to serve in about 40 minutes.
The Brie used in this recipe is one of my favorites, Saint Andre Brie, which is available at most larger grocery stores. With a slightly salty, buttery flavor, this cheese combines beautifully with the asparagus. There are many varieties of Brie on the market, some are inexpensive and others can get quite pricey, but this Brie offers a consistent flavor at a reasonable price. I discovered this brand over 20 years ago and it's still my favorite. (If you cannot find Saint Andre Brie at your market, look for a soft-ripened Brie and it should work nicely.) Enjoy!!
1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus Spears, peeled* and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup Salted Butter
1/3 cup Flour
3 cups Chicken Broth
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
5 oz Saint Andre' Brie Cheese, rind removed
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp White Pepper, or more to taste
Homemade French Bread Croutons or Store Bought Croutons for Garnish
Blanched Asparagus Spears for Garnish
In a large saucepan, sauté the asparagus in butter until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Stir in the flour until blended and cook for 2 minutes or until the flour is golden brown.
Slowly add the broth, cream and wine to the pan and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Use a stick blender (or a standard blender) to puree the soup until creamy and smooth. Cut the brie into small pieces and add the pieces to the soup. Add salt and white pepper, adjust to taste, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes over low heat. Ladle the soup into small bowls, add a crouton and a few pieces of blanched asparagus for garnish and serve.
* Use a potato peeler to lighter peel the asparagus and remove the tough outer skin.