This is not your typical cream of asparagus soup. It’s rich, flavorful, and hearty, packed with tender asparagus, and topped with crispy bacon and buttery croutons.
- 3 lbs fresh asparagus (*see note)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb thick cut bacon
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 6 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt (more to taste)
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (more to taste)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2–4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- 1 bunch green onions (scallions), white and light green parts sliced thin
- Croutons, for serving, preferably homemade
- Prep the asparagus by snapping each stalk in half wherever it breaks naturally. Separate the tops of the stalks from the bottom. Cut the asparagus tips into pieces that are about 1-inch long and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large, heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and add to the hot pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate.
- Pour all but about 1 tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan and return to the heat, turning the burner to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper, and cook 1 minute longer.
- Pour in the wine, turn the heat to high, and let boil until reduced to about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Add the broth or water, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and the bottom half of the asparagus stalks. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the stalks are very tender.
- Working in batches, and being cautious of the hot steam, ladle 2-3 cups of asparagus stalks and broth into a blender. Purée until smooth, then pour through a strainer (*see note) into a large bowl. Continue until all of the soup has been pureed.
- Add the cream and egg yolks to a small bowl, or large measuring cup and whisk to combine. Very slowly, pour about 1 cup of the still warm puréed soup into the cream and eggs. Whisk constantly while you pour in the hot soup so that the egg yolks don’t scramble. Set aside for a moment.
- Return the rest of the strained soup to the saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring back to a gentle simmer. Add the tops of the asparagus stalks and cook just until fork tender – about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the cream and egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly as you pour to prevent the yolks from scrambling.
- Stir in 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice. Taste and add more salt, pepper and lemon juice as you like. Stir in the sliced green onions.
- Serve topped with the crispy bacon and croutons.
- This recipe can be made with 3 pounds of freshly purchased asparagus spears OR the equivalent of reserved, frozen asparagus ends and a handful of fresh asparagus tips. See the section in the above post titled, Cream of Asparagus Soup: The perfect use for the woody ends of asparagus, for more information about saving and storing the woody ends of asparagus so that you can make soup with it later.
- Straining Cream of Asparagus Soup: You can choose to not strain this soup at all, however there will be small fibrous pieces in the soup without straining. The holes in typical colanders are too large to filter out the small fibers, and the holes in fine mesh strainers tend to be too small. My preference is for this Stainless Steel Strainer which has the perfect size holes for catching most of the fibers while letting the soup strain through.