Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Detox Soup

This is my spin on a recipe for asparagus soup that my friend gave me. As I have mentioned in the past, asparagus is incredibly good for your liver and can even help prevent a hangover, so I figured that eating asparagus soup after a weekend of overindulging in various meats and margaritas would be a clever and responsible thing to do.
(So long as your AC is working, and kept to ConEd's suggestion of 78 degrees so we avoid another blackout, you should be able to enjoy this soup even tho it remains 95-101º outside. There is one room in my apartment in which I can enjoy this soup in comfort, and luckily it is also the room w/ the TV and the computer.)
I added kale into the mix because kale is one of those incredible dark greens that's just bursting with vitamins and minerals, even more so than spinach or swiss chard. (Yes, I know kale is best in the winter, but I got the über health idea in my head and I stuck with it!) This soup will be lovely with just asparagus as well, and it will come out much smoother with just asparagus in the end. Your choice.
I started out with one large bundle of kale and one bundle of asparagus, but you could easily make this with one and a half bundles of asparagus instead.

Choice of Onion Family: 
You could use one large leek, two medium onions, or four decent sized shallots.
I used one medium yellow onion and two small shallots because that happened to be what I had on hand.
It will still work. No worries.

The smaller you dice your asparagus, the faster it will cook, but as a general rule you want to chop it into relatively equal sizes so that they all cook at the same rate.

Give your kale a solid rinse and drain, just like with all other vegetables before cooking. But this shows you just how much I started out with.

Start the soup by sautéing your onions in a few glugs of olive oil (maybe 3-4 TBSP). Cook these with a pinch of salt for about ten minutes, stirring every few minutes, until they just start to brown (you want the added bit of sweetness this will create in the soup's finished product.)
When they just start to brown, add 2 cloves of minced garlic to the pan.

Once the onions have begun to brown and the garlic has spent about a minute in the hot pan, I add the asparagus into the pan to sauté for another 5-10 minutes, until they begin to get a little color and soften.

Next add about 3-4 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable if you want it to stay vegetarian). The amount depends on just how much asparagus + other veg you use. If you want your soup to be thick, try using only 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Mine comes out quite thin.
Bring the soup up to a simmer and add about a quarter of a rind of parmigiano reggiano, finely chopped if you can manage it. It will melt into the soup. 
(When you buy your Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano wedges, save the heel of the rind and store it in your freezer for future soups, stews, etc. They will add a lot of flavor and thickness.)

Once the soup has simmered for about 10 minutes, add in the curly kale (chopped for ease in later blending) and let it  begin to wilt, about two minutes.
Note: the kale will make this soup have a fairly chunky consistency no matter how much you blend it, so if you want a truly smooth soup, choose something like spinach as your extra green.

Take the soup off the heat, and be prepared to do the next step in batches so as not to overload anything.

Using a blender (unless you have a HUGE Food Processor, you're going to need the blender. Otherwise your FoPro will leak from all the liquid involved.) purée the soup in batches until you reach your desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
It's gonna need quite a bit of salt.

You can garnish with asparagus tips, more cheese, some chipotle salt, crispy prosciutto... whatever makes you happy. But (for me) the point of this soup is to throw a ton of nutrients back into your system, as well as a decent bit of fiber. 
And after this past holiday weekend, and the upcoming Meatopia event this Sunday, I made extra of this soup to help get me through without too much discomfort or damage done.
I hope you enjoy it too.


Jennifer said...

That looks fantastic. I wonder if I can get my husband to eat it.

I have just discovered cheese rinds in soup and it is truly the most delightful little trick. My vegetable soup has so much more body this way.

Joe Ambrosino said...

Love the step by step directions, kiddo.Nice soup too. Do you, by the way have an immersion blender? That's what I would use for this kind of task.

RocknRollGourmet said...

I do have an immersion blender but my soup pot is so large that this was not enough soup (too shallow) to use the immersion blender without major spitting.
Learned that the first time I made this soup ;)