Here’s a beautiful and healthful soup that is so packed with nutrition that it can be a nice, light supper on its own on a spring evening. Use spring’s fresh asparagus, the first green onion tops or similar wild edibles to make this seasonal soup reflective of what you have growing nearby. If your internal clock doesn’t match the Daylight Saving Time clock you may find yourself only beginning to prepare dinner when the sun goes down. This soup can be on the table in 30 minutes. Make a double batch for lunch the next day!

I highlighted two local value-added products in this month’s recipe. The apple cider vinegar came from Two Dudes Foods based in Roanoke. The guys at Two Dudes Foods take apples that are leftover after farmer’s markets’ sales and turn them into delicious apple cider vinegar, dried apples and fruit leathers. VABF member farm Goose Creek Gardens made the lovely cultured cream from extra milk that may have gone to waste. I love that both the cream and the vinegar came from a desire to use every bit of the local bounty lovingly harvested by local farmers.

Spring Forward Asparagus Soup

Ingredients:

two or so bunches asparagus, with 6-8 stalks set aside for garnish

2 TBSP coconut or olive oil

one small to medium diced onion

one bunch green onions, garlic scapes or similar

4 cups chicken broth

2 TBSP fresh grated ginger

3-4 TBSP apple cider vinegar

1 cup cultured cream, plant or animal milk

roasted pepitas

salt and pepper

Method:

Snap the asparagus and compost the woody stems. Roughly chop the stalks and tops, reserving 6-8 stalks for garnish. Add the olive oil to a heated pan or soup pot. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, then add the green onions and the fresh ginger and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes more, then add the chicken broth. While bringing to a boil add the chopped asparagus. Boil for about one minute then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 5 minutes to soften the asparagus.

Remove from the heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar, stir.  Add and stir in the milk or cream. Let cool for about 5 minutes while preparing your blender or immersion blender.

In smaller batches, blend until smooth. If you are using a blender be sure to hold the lid on with a dish towel. Blending warm liquid can sometimes force the lid to pop off from rising steam and heat. If using an immersion blender take care not to splash hot liquid onto yourself.

After blending return the soup to a soup pot and keep warm. Season with salt and pepper.  Taste first though, as the ginger may add enough peppery flavor on its own.

Take the reserved asparagus spears and cut into pretty slices on the diagonal. Saute over medium heat in a bit of oil and set aside with the roasted pumpkin seeds.

Ladle the soup into pretty bowls and sprinkle the top with the asparagus spears and pepitas.

By: Anna Wills