I wanted a soup with depth of flavor but without cream or butter. Roasting the garlic and the asparagus tips and caramelizing the onion gives it a richness without the dairy. The family gave it an A+.
This is a non-dairy soup and if you make it with vegetable broth, vegetarian, too.
Asparagus Soup with Roasted Garlic and Dried Tomatoes
1 lb. fresh asparagus
1 head of garlic
1 med. onion, chopped
1 quart of vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted
salt & pepper
Wash asparagus and cut or snap off the woody ends. Give the ends to your chickens. Chop off the asparagus tips (about 2 inches). Toss the tips in a drizzle of olive oil to coat and spread out in a small roasting pan. Remove the outermost papery cover from the garlic head and chop off the top 1/4 in. or so of the cloves, exposing the garlic. Place garlic in the roasting pan with the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the asparagus and garlic in a 350 degree F oven for about 25 minutes or until the garlic is soft and can be squeezed out of the skins and the asparagus tips are beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, steam the asparagus stalks until soft and tender but not absolute mush. Drain and set aside to cool.
Saute the chopped onion until nicely caramelized. Remove from heat.
Place the cooked asparagus stalks (not the tips) in the blender. Add the garlic, squeezed from the skins, the caramelized onion and about a cup of the broth (enough to facilitate pureeing). Process until smooth.
Heat the remaining broth in a pan over medium heat. Add the pureed asparagus mixture. Very coarsely chop the asparagus tips and add them and the sun-dried tomatoes to the soup.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 2 large bowls of soup with a little left over. Would make 4 cup-sized servings.