Asparagus Blue Cheese Soup

Asparagus Blue Cheese Soup

1 pound of fresh asparagus
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (half a stick)
1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon roux
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup blue cheese or gorgonzola, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut one inch off the bottoms of the asparagus to remove the woody stalk, then cut each stalk into one-inch pieces, reserving the tips for garnish.

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and asparagus and sauté for five minutes.

Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.

Whisk in 1 tablespoon of roux to thicken the mixture, adding more as needed.  Add the cream and blue cheese, then puree the mixture using an immersion blender (you may also use a blender or food processor).

Add salt and pepper to taste, then use the bottom of a ladle to gently push the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer until all the strings are removed and the texture is smooth and velvety. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with asparagus tips and crumbled blue cheese.

To store:  Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Tip: To simplify the flavor, you may omit the blue cheese as a garnish and use toasted pine nuts instead.

To Make a Blond Roux:
½ cup butter, shortening, lard or vegetable oil (the more flavorful the fat, the better the roux)
½ cup flour

(The ratio we use to make a roux is 1:1)

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, then gradually whisk in the flour until it is completely incorporated with the butter.

Cook over medium-low heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, whisking constantly until a light straw color is achieved.  Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The roux will harden when refrigerated so that you can break it off in pieces.