Simca’s [unbelievable] asparagus soup with tarragon

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I have never been a huge fan of asparagus but that has all changed since I discovered this recipe. I am so happy! I found it in Simone Beck’s cookbook.

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I won’t go on and on because the food really does the talking. All I can say is the combination of asparagus and tarragon is lovely. The French, in my opinion, understand what good soups should taste like!

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

2 pounds fresh asparagus
Salt
2 cups milk
3 large, full branches of tarragon (or about 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 cup full-bodied white wine
Black pepper, freshly ground
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken broth or bouillon
(You could probably use veggie broth too)
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon (or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)

1. Prepare the asparagus. Cut off the tough ends and peel away some of the tougher skin on the ends. Slice the  asparagus into pieces about 2 cm long and quarter them. Set aside a few of the finest tips to decorate the soup. Cook in  boiling salted water until they very tender, about 7 to 12 minutes.

2. Drain thoroughly and put in a food processor to make a puree. Then return to the saucepan with the milk, set over moderate heat and simmer, stirring until smooth.

3. If you are using fresh tarragon, roughly chop the leaves. Put the tarragon into a saucepan with the white wine, add some freshly ground pepper, bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 20 minutes. The liquid will reduce to about a tablespoon. Set aside.

4. In an enameled saucepan over moderate heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, simmer several minutes and add the asparagus puree.

5. Pour a cup of the soup into the saucepan containing the reduced wine and tarragon. Stir over heat. Pour it  through a sieve back into the soup. Bring to a boil, taste and correct seasoning.

6. Blend 2 tablespoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon into the remaining butter and stir into the soup.  Garnish each serving with 2 or 3 pieces.

Enjoy! Xxxx Natascha