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Chilled Asparagus Soup with…
With what Lindy?
Well, it’s Chilled Asparagus Soup with Lemon Creme Fraiche and Fresh Dill. That’s what. But, Google doesn’t like long titles. Google penalizes you for long titles. And I sure don’t want to upset Google. So Chilled Asparagus Soup with is what I will put in my title. And I’ll just tell y’all the with what.
You won’t get mad at me for making it too long and detailed.
This soup is great cold or hot and makes a perfect first course
Have you ever participated in a progressive dinner? Where you start at one person’s house for appetizers and opening drinks, then progress on to the next house for the main course, and finally, to the last house for dessert? It’s so much fun, and in my humble opinion, much better then a pot luck as you only have to fix and serve one course and then you all move on. We just had one with friends. Judy and Bob started us off with Empanadas, Ceviche and Pisco Sours. Then we wondered down to our house for some of this Chilled Asparagus Soup which was followed by Hasenpfeffer, Mustard Thyme Spatzle and Julia Child’s braised carrots, which we enjoyed with a magnum of Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. Finally dessert at John and Stephanie’s, a decadent chocolate mousse served alongside a tart, buttery lemon square, served with coffee and cordials. YUM, and FUN.
This recipe is light, fresh and flavorful. I tasted it both hot and cold and liked the cold version better so I served it that way. Although it was also delicious hot. But either way you eat it, I would make it the day before you plan to serve to give everything time to meld their flavors together.
Another great thing about this soup is I made it with both the tender and the tougher bottoms of the asparagus stalks, that part I normally throw away (well, I put in compost but not everyone composts and my chicken aren’t really crazy about asparagus, so this was a great use for them. Just remember when you are trimming the asparagus to keep some of those beautiful tips for garnish. Not critical, but nice for presentation!
The hardest part of the progressive part of the dinner for me was to figure out… how do I cook a main course when I’m not going to be there for an hour and a half before I have to serve it. What can I cook and forget about it? My menu choices worked out perfectly as the rabbit, once it’s browned, cooks in a low oven for an hour and a half… the spatzle can be made in advance as well as the carrots. The soup, better left overnight. And my kitchen was clean and in order before my guests showed up. Win-Win. And y’all know I love a good win-win.
This recipe uses creme fraiche mixed with a little lemon zest and lemon juice as a finish to give it a little bit of zing and freshness. What is the difference between the two and can they be interchanged? The difference is mainly that creme fraiche is thicker and creamier. Most sour creams are also made with stabilizers, while creme fraiche is pure. And creme fraiche is more buttery and less sour in flavor. Can you interchange them? In this application, you could. But if you were heating them up, then the creme fraiche would win as sour cream has a tendency to break when heated, creme fraiche with it’s purity and thickness will not. And you won’t find a low-fat version for creme fraiche.
It’s easy to make your own, but let’s be honest, most of us won’t. Add a tablespoon of cultured buttermilk to 1 cup of cream and let it sit in a cool room for up to 24 hours, or until very thick. Refrigerate for several weeks.
While the soup is cooking, bring a small pan of water to a boil, add salt. Add the asparagus tips and cook until tender, about 2 - 3 minutes. Immediately plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking and retain the bright vibrant green. Pat dry and refrigerate in some paper towels inside a small plastic bag or container.
Once the soup has sat, process in batches in a blender until smooth. you may not need all the liquid you cooked in, blend with some of the liquid in each batch, withholding about a cup in reserve. When the soup is ready to be served the next day, use the reserved liquid to bring the soup to the consistency you desire. If you don't have a Vitamix which will make the soup very silky, push the soup through a fine sieve to remove any fibrous pieces of stalk. Place in a container and refrigerate, covered, until chilled, overnight preferred. Refrigerate the reserved cooking liquid separately.
LindySez: Did we count the calories consumed in this “dinner”? Yes, yes we did. We figured, over all we consumed between 1100 and 1400 calories, almost more then we eat in an entire day! We did walk home, up and down our hill, and that counts, and we added more steps the next day to compensate. But that’s the beauty not dieting, no guilt. You just go back on point the next day, add a few extra steps, and what the heck, we all need to celebrate once in a while. Don’t you agree?
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