Asparagus Blue Cheese Soup

Asparagus Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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)

Directions:
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.