Cream of Asparagus and Wild Rice Soup

Boil ½ cup of wild rice with 1 ½ cups water until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, break off the tough bottoms of ½ pound of young asparagus spears. (If you gently bend the spears, they will naturally break at the point where the toughness begins.) Discard the tough bottoms, then cut off the tips of the spears and reserve. Chop the remainder of the stalks into small rounds.

Next, finely dice 1 small shallot, 1 small carrot, ½ stalk of celery, and 1 small potato.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large soup pot, and sauté the shallot, carrot, celery, asparagus rounds, and potato for about 5-6 minutes over medium-low heat. Add 1 ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Transfer this mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (If you use a blender, take care to vent the top.)

Return the pureed vegetable mixture to the soup pot and add the wild rice, along with 1 cup heavy cream and ½ cup water or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and then add the asparagus tips. Cook for a few minutes over medium low heat just until the asparagus tips are crisp-tender.

Watch the progress of the soup carefully. You may need to add additional water or stock. When the mixture meets with your preference of consistency (either thick or thin), add 1 tablespoon dry sherry or brandy for extra flavor (optional, but highly recommended.) Adjust with salt and pepper as needed before serving. Makes 2-4 servings depending on appetite and accompaniments.

Copyright © 2013 by Eddie Kent Tallent