Monday, October 19, 2015

Asparagus and Bourbon-Brie Soup

A photo posted by Höķm Guerrerø (@revmcnasty) on
Asparagus and Brie Soup is always a treat.  It's considered "delicate" and "posh" and other fancy things.  The flavors blend well and I discovered that it's fairy easy to make.  Most recipes I found are pretty much just asparagus and brie - with some stock, cream and flour added.  No onion, or any aromatics - a couple recipes did include garlic. While I was in the grocery store today I noticed asparagus was insanely cheap and I decided to try my hand at a variation of this soup.  I wanted something that had a bolder and in-your-face flavor compared to what I was reading about online.  I got even more inspiration when I found a container of "smoked bourbon" brie also on sale.  I decided that today I'm gonna put the cookbooks aside and wing this thing.  

When I got home I realized I didn't have brie, but Creme de Brie.  It is creamier and more spreadable.  I figured this would make the step of melting the brie into the soup easier as well as replacing any milk or heavy cream I might decide to add. 

Asparagus & Bourbon-Brie Soup

1/3 cups (or more) of unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped (2 inch pieces)
1 stalk celery, chopped (2 inch pieces)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped (2 inch pieces)
1 bunch asparagus*, bottom white end removed, chopped (2 inch pieces) and separate the tips for later
1 tablespoon flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable stock
1 five ounce container of Creme de Brie

*Note: I also had a small head of broccoli leftover from last week's trip to the local Farmer's Market.  I figured I'd use it before it went bad for some extra "oomph"  I cut the ends into tiny florets and put them with the asparagus tips.  I chopped up the "meat" part of the broccoli and put that with the stalks of asparagus.

  1. Over medium high heat melt that butter in a large pot.  (Add a dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help prevent burning the butter). Turn heat down a little and cook down to just before the butter turns brown. Add the onion, celery and carrot and stir.  Salt and pepper a little.  Increase heat slightly and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the asparagus (and broccoli) stalks.  NOT THE TIPS.  Stir, salt and pepper.  Cook another 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the flour, Herbes de Provence, Aleppo, garlic and bay leaf.  Cook for one minute to unlock the aromatics.
  4. Stir in the vegetable stock in batches, making sure there are no clumps from the flour. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.  
  5. While this is simmering: turn your oven's broiler on and adjust the rack to be about 8 inches away from the heat.  Place the asparagus tips and broccoli florets onto a greased, foil lined baking sheet and broil for about 4-6 minutes; removing just as the ends start to brown (but they aren't over cooked).  Remove from broiler and let cool on baking sheet.
  6. Remove the soup from heat and discard the bay leaf.
  7. Using a hand held emulsion blender puree the soup.  
  8. While the soup is still relatively hot add 4 ounces of the brie in half once spoonfuls, stirring after the second and fourth to dissolve the brie into the soup.  Add the spear tips and, if using, broccoli florets.
  9. Serve hot, garnishing each bowl with a small dollop of the remaining Creme de Brie. Crusty bread is nice too!