Spring Garden Vegetable Soup with Asparagus, Artichokes, Peas & Spinach ♥ Recipe

Spring Garden Vegetable Soup Recipe
Today's spring soup recipe: A bowlful of our favorite spring vegetables, especially artichokes and asparagus.

The seductress that is Spring is toying with us here in St. Louis. For a few days, she taunted us with warm – hot, even – days, luring us into the impression that 'Spring is really here!" For years, I've tracked the very day in my estimation when spring 'really' arrived and 2011 was looking record early by some days.

But no. The real spring has yet to arrive. As I write, there is new snow on the ground and tomorrow's outdoor birthday party is being moved inside.

Still, spring WILL come and it helps to bridge the seasons with what I think of as 'bridge foods' – in this case, a big potful of soup that simmered on the stove but not the heavy stews and meaty soups of winter but a potful of spring vegetables. I envisioned an all-green soup – thus the celery, asparagus, artichokes, peas and spinach – but then thought better of myself and chopped in some carrot for color. With a little help, patience will pay off and spring will make herself known, this time for real.

THOUGHTS ON BITE-SIZE So yes, I like to chop vegetables, it comes easily to me, is comforting, even, figuring out how to almost make the vegetables cut themselves. For soups and salads, I've long made tiny bits of vegetables – you know, the size of those bags of frozen mixed vegetables, what is that, the size of a pea? or a carrot square? But of late, I've left cut vegetables in larger pieces – now I want to look at a bowl of soup and readily identify what's there. Take a look at the photo, isn't it cool to be able to identify so many vegetables, just at a glance? Anyway, that's my take at the moment. What's yours?

RECIPE for SPRING GARDEN VEGETABLE SOUP with ASPARAGUS, ARTICHOKES, PEAS & SPINACH

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 12 cups

6 cups stock (I used Homemade Chicken Stock, Note to Vegetarians)

1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, white and green parts only (How to Clean Leeks), cut into half circles
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
3 carrots, trimmed and cut into half-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
1 15-ounce can artichoke bottoms, tough bits sliced off and discarded, remaining parts cut into lengths
16 ounces frozen artichoke hearts (from Trader Joe's, one of their marvelous bags of frozen vegetables)
8 ounces asparagus, woody ends snapped off, skin pared off if tough, spears cut into one-inch lengths, tips set aside

8 ounces frozen peas
8 ounces frozen spinach
Generous salt & pepper to taste
Cream to taste (I used about a quarter cup)

In the microwave, bring the stock to a boil. (This step helps 'move the recipe along' but isn't necessary if time is no issue.)

In a large pot, melt the butter til shimmery. Add the leek, stir to coat with fat and let cook until just soft. As they are prepped, add the celery and ribs to the pot, stirring to coat with fat and letting cook until just soft. As they are prepped, add the artichoke bottoms, artichoke hearts and asparagus lengths (leave the tips aside for now).

Add the hot stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer, let simmer until all the vegetables are cooked through.

Stir in the asparagus tips, peas and spinach and let cook through.

Taste, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in cream to taste. Best if left to rest for 24 hours before serving.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
This is a "concept" recipe – use an onion or shallots instead of leeks; use whatever vegetables you've got on hand. That said – this was a particularly luxurious spring soup. I really loved it.


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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2011


2 comments:

What a lovely, healthy Spring soup!

This looks really good, this is my first visit to your blog. My wife does not eat red meat so I am hoping that you might have some new ideas for me. I recently made a similar dish that emphasized asparagus but it was pureed and creamed.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna