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Cream of Asparagus Soup

This soup is wonderful served hot or cold. Half & half or milk may be substituted for the cream if fat content is a concern, although it won't taste quite as good. Be sure to adjust the seasoning after you add the cream (or half & half, or milk), especially if you plan to serve it cold.

1 lb. (450 g) fresh asparagus spears
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter
3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Soak and rinse asparagus. Remove top 1 inch (2 cm) of each spear, discard tough lower part, reserving middle portion of stalks. In a 3-quart (3 L) saucepan over medium heat, saut´┐Ż onion in  butter for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent. Add chicken stock, asparagus tips and stems, potato, celery, thyme, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
   Remove asparagus tips and  set aside. Place half of the soup at a time in a blender container. Cover and blend at high speed for 20 to 30 seconds or until very smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and return blended soup to saucepan. Add reserved asparagus tips and cream (or half and half, or milk) and heat thoroughly, or refrigerate to be served cold. Serves 4

Reproduced by permission of   World Wide Recipes

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