Asparagus soup is a dish created using one of the three types of edible asparagus as its main ingredient. Choosing quality asparagus and preparing it properly leads to the best soup-making experience. The most common type is a cream-based soup that can include diced meat and spices for depth. It's also possible to customize other standard soup recipes with the addition of chopped asparagus.
The three types of asparagus found in markets are green, purple, and white varieties. Green is the most common and features the richest flavor, while white asparagus, usually found canned or in specialty stores, has a milder taste. Purple asparagus is more fruity in flavor and might not substitute well for the other types in asparagus soup.
Asparagus have long spears with budding heads. On quality asparagus, the spears will be firm and the heads will be small and tightly packed, as these are signs that the vegetable has not become overripe. The heads will need to be cut off before the asparagus is used, making the yield of a bunch much smaller than it initially seems. The heads can be placed in cooking broth to infuse the asparagus soup with a woody flavor.
There are different ways to cook the vegetable for use in asparagus soup, with the best method depending on use and personal preference. The stalks can be steamed in a pot with a small amount of boiling water or boiled in a full pot. A faster method is to use the microwave, though this works best when the asparagus will get extra cook time on the stove before the soup is served.
Creamy asparagus soup is the most common type since the succulence of the asparagus won't be overpowered by the cream. This process typically begins with cooking the chopped asparagus, and possibly the woody heads, in chicken broth until tender. The two are then blended together into a puree before adding the cream just before serving. Crumbled bacon and curry powder can be added to give the soup a more robust flavor.
Chopped asparagus can be used in any soup that calls for a strong vegetable presence, such as vegetable beef soup. The asparagus can be used exclusively as the vegetable to make it more of an asparagus soup. It may also be combined with other vegetables, such as corn and beans, to form a hearty stew.