It's supposed to be Spring. The daffodils are up & the crocus are peaking through the grass, but it's been so cold that despite my desire for fresh spring flavours, I can't help but also want soup. So I made soup that tastes of pure spring.
Warming, lovely, spring-fresh Asparagus, Leek & Butterbean soup.
Asparagus is probably one of my all time favourite vegetables & I eagerly wait for the first bunches to appear in the market every year, ready to gobble up as much as possible to make the most of the short season. It can be quite expensive, especially in the early weeks of the season and I never want to waste any of it so I always cut off the woody bottom ends and freeze them, ready to use in stocks for a risotto, or, even better, this soup.
I do urge you to make your own soup stock for the soup. It doesn't take too long, and makes good use of the top bits of the leek & the woody asparagus ends. Simmered for half an hour or so, it really does add a whole other level of flavour that you just can't get with a pre-made stock or standard boullion. I like to add some kombu seaweed to all my stocks that I make. It's naturally full of glutamine, which means it imparts a full, rounded umami flavour to the stock (and is super good for you to boot. Yay!)
Don't bother pureeing this soup- just squish the butterbeans with a potato masher to break them down a bit & let out their starchy insides. This starchyness adds a luxurious silky quality that works so well with the asparagus. You can also use cannellini beans instead of butterbeans, both will add that delicious creamy mouthfeel that's so yummy.
Eat this delicious Asparagus, Leek & Butterbean soup with some crunchy sourdough toast to make a full meal, or serve as the starter to a spring lunch.
Asparagus, Leek & Butterbean Soup
For the stock
- handful leek tops
- all the the woody asparagus ends
- a few parsley stalks
- 1 10x 5 cm piece konbu
- 1 tsp whole peppercorns
- water to cover
- carrot, onion, parsnip & other veggie trimmings if you have them
For the Soup
- 20 (or so- roughly 2 bunches) Asparagus
- 1 Leek finely chopped
- 1 tin butterbeans
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 500 ml stock (Make your own as above!)
To make the stock
- Add all the stock ingredients into a large pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for half an hour-1 hour (depending on how much time you have!)
- Drain. *Warning- be sure to drain into another large pot. Not down the sink.
To make the soup
- Finely chop the asparagus stalks reserving the asparagus spear tops. Chop the leek finely too.
- In a large saucepan gently sautee the leek in the oil.
- Add the asparagus stalks, the wine, the butterbeans, the thyme and the stock you made earlier.
- Simmer for around 10 mins until all the veggies are soft.
- Squish the butterbeans around the pot with a potato masher and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Add the asparagus spear tops in, and simmer for another 3 minutes so they are just cooked but still green.
- Serve with crusty bread or on it's own, making sure each person has a fair share of the asparagus tops.