Some of the first produce from our kitchen garden is asparagus. After a little searching we located a few asparagus soup recipes. We used parts from the Asparagus Soup recipe found in the Virginia Housewife.
Take four large bunches of asparagus, scrape it nicely, cut off one inch of the tops, and lay them in water, chop the stalks and put them on the fire with a piece of bacon, a large onion cut up, and pepper and salt; add two quarts of water, boil them till the stalks are quite soft, then pulp them through a sieve, and strain the water to it, which must be put back in the pot; put into it a chicken cut up, with the tops of asparagus which had been laid by, boil it until these last articles are sufficiently done, thicken with flour, butter and milk, and serve it up.
The Virginia Housewife, by Mary Randolph, 1860
And we used parts from a handwritten receipt book found in the manuscript collection of the Wellcome Library. This recipe was in the Receipt book of Anna-Marie Maysey.
We found several soups that were run through a sieve to puree them like these. Then thickened with a combination of flour, butter and milk or cream.
As is often done, we changed the recipes slightly to suit our taste and the soup was delicious!
- 1 small Chicken
- 1-2 pounds asparagus
- Handful of dried peas
- 3-4 slices of bacon
- 1 large onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by cooking the chicken over the hearth until done. When cooked, remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
Prepare the asparagus by cutting off the tender tops of the asparagus and set these aside. Use the chicken broth to boil the stems of the asparagus add dried peas at this time if you like.
Begin cooking the bacon slices and onion.
Once the asparagus and peas are cooked, run them through a sieve and remove the tough parts of the asparagus stalks. Add the cooked bacon and onion to the soup base. The soup base will be watery at this stage. Pour it back into a kettle over the hearth and simmer.
Add chicken to the pot. Make balls out of the flour, butter and milk and add to the soup. Smush these into the wall of the kettle to help them dissolve into the pot. The more you add the thicker the soup base will become.
A few minutes prior to serving add the asparagus tips back to the pot. These only need to cook for a few minutes.