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Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

1 c. leek greens, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
4 parsley branches, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 c. cold water

3 tablespoons of butter
3 leeks (white part) slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
7 cups of the stock
1/2 c light cream (optional)
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of grated lemon peel
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 pound fresh thin asparagus

Snap the lower end of the asparagus where they bend easily.  Set rest of asaparagus aside.  Rinse the ends well and chop into 1" pieces.  Combine the rest of the stock ingredients, bring to boil, and reduce to simmer for 20-25 minutes.  STRAIN.

Cut off the tips of the asparagus and set aside.  Chop stems into 1" pieces.  Melt butter in a soup pot, add leeks, and cook over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add asparagus stems, salt, parsley.  Pour in 5 cups of stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer until asparagus is tender (approximately 5-6 minutes).  Blend the soup in a blender.  Return soup to pot.  Add cream, if using.  Thin with more stock if necessary.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon peel.

In another pot bring a few cups of water to a boil.  Add a little salt.  Cook the asparagus tips appoximately 2 minutes until then are tender.  Add the drained tips to the soup.  Bring to a gentle simmer and serve.

Breadsticks go very well with this soup!