This is another veloutée (see soupe aux poireaux). This soup is purely my own invention. Obviously, broccoli and/or other vegetables can be substituted for the asparagus.
There are two points at which you can set aside your soup for later use depending on whether you’ve added the vegetable or not. As a general rule, anything merely flavorful can be set aside. Vegetables whose texture you value in the soup and dairy will not remain pleasingly stable stored for very long.
|3||leeks, finely chopped|
|½ medium||onion, finely chopped|
|4 stalks||celery, finely chopped|
|4 tbsp||olive oil|
|1 or 2 cloves||minced garlic (optional)|
|1 liter||chicken stock|
|bundle||asparagus, cut into ½" lengths|
|||fresh ground pepper|
|||sea or kosher salt (to taste)|
|¼ cup||parmigiano reggiano or romano cheese, finely grated|
|¼ lb||sweet cream butter|
|—||sweet cream served separately|
1. Sauté chopped leeks, onion and celery until beginning to brown. Drown in chicken stock and set aside.
2. Peel and dice potatoes; cook in just enough water until very tender.
3. Dump the potatoes, water and all (should not be a great deal of water left—maybe 2 cups at most) into the pot with the rest of the soup. At this point, you can use one of those hand-held blenders to process the coarse vegetable matter or you can process it in batches through a jar blender.
With the asparagus in it (see below), you can set aside your soup for only a few hours awaiting your guests. Storing it too long will dissolve the vegetable into something non-descript and fibrous.
4. Add asparagus, simmer (meaning no boiling action, only a bit of bubbling) for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
With no vegetables or cheese in it yet, after this step, you can set aside your soup overnight, maybe longer.
5. Add cheese and butter; reheat to serving temperature.
6. Serve with cream for those who wish it.