Project Veggie: Day 23 – Asparagus Soup

It was bound to happen.  Cooking every night for 30 days, making tons of new recipes, trying unfamiliar things, bragging about my many successes…it was probably inevitable.  Recipe fail.  And the worst part is it was all my fault.

Spring is coming.  That makes me think of asparagus, among other things.  It’s one of the first spring veggies to come into season and I love it.  I wanted cream of asparagus soup.  So I was looking for the perfect recipe to try since I’ve never made it before.  While I was looking I came across a recipe for a Greek-style asparagus soup.  It sounded intriguing.  Different.  Maybe a little weird but I’m okay with that.  The picture looked great.  And it had a cool name: Asparagus Avgolemono.

But here’s the problem:  I got cocky.  I didn’t follow my own cardinal rule. Whenever I make a new recipe, I follow it the first time. That’s my rule.  It’s a good rule.  I tend to play with it from there but the first time I do it the way the author intended, to get a baseline.  I should state that I actually think this would be a good recipe if it was followed correctly.  It tasted good.  The thing I didn’t like, which was caused by the changes I made, was the texture.  First, I doubled the recipe, which for most recipes is no big deal, but might have had a bad effect in this case.  The second thing I did was add more pasta.  It just didn’t seem like enough, and I wanted this to be a hearty main dish soup so I added more.  The third thing I did was puree some of it to make it thicker before I finished it.  I should have waited until it was done and seen how thick it was to begin with before doing things to make it thicker.  I also added some parmesan cheese on top as a garnish, which didn’t improve things.  What I ended up with was something that had a good flavor, but a thick, gloppy texture that I did not enjoy.  Luke loved it and ate two or three bowls, so maybe it was just me.

I’m determined to try this one again, and follow the directions, and hopefully have a better outcome.  In the meantime, I will say this one was less than successful.  But if you want to try it, here’s the recipe I SHOULD have followed.  Don’t deviate.

Asparagus Avgolemono

Asparagus Avgolemono
(from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers)

I quart veggie broth
1/4 cup pastina or orzo
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 eggs
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper

In a soup pot, bring the broth to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until almost al dente.  Add the asparagus and dill and simmer until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes.  While the asparagus cooks, in a bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice.  When the asparagus is tender, whisk a ladleful of the hot broth into the egg-lemon mixture.  Lower the heat and slowly pour the egg mixture into the soup in a thin stream, stirring briskly all the while.  Continue to stir until the soup is thickened somewhat and heated through, a couple of minutes.  Constant stirring and low heat prevent the eggs from curdling.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

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