Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Soup



Snap the woody stem off each stalk of asparagus, and lightly peel half the number of stalks. Chop the ends and the remaining unpeeled asparagus into 1/4" pieces. Cover with film wrap and refrigerate until needed. Blanch the peeled asparagus in 3 quarts boiling salted water.
Do not overcook; the asparagus should be cooked yet remain crisp. Transfer the blanched asparagus to ice water. When cool, cut into 3/4" pieces. Cover with film wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Remove and chop the mushroom stems. Slice and remove the caps.
Heat the vegetable oil and water in a 2.1/2-qt. saucepan over med. heat. When hot, add the chopped asparagus, mushroom stems, celery, leeks, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and saute until the onions are translucent, 5 to 7 mins. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
While the chicken stock is heating, melt the butter in a separate 2.1/2-qt. saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, to make a roux, and cook until the roux bubbles, 6 to 8 mins. Stir constantly to prevent browning and scorching. Strain 4 cups boiling stock into the roux and whisk vigorously until smooth. Add the remaining stock and vegetables. Whisk until well combined. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 mins. Remove the soup from the heat and puree in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Strain into a 5-qt. saucepan and return to low heat. Hold at a simmer for a few mins. while completing the recipe. Heat the cream, sliced shiitakes, and asparagus pieces in a nonstick saute pan over med. heat. When hot, add to the soup and adjust the seasoning.
Serve immediately. (This soup may be held hot in a double boiler for up to one hour.)
From S. Woodward
Author - Marcel Desaulniers


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