Asparagus leek soup

For more than 60 years, very clear fundamental principles have directed Kaiser Permanente health care. Dr. Sidney Garfield created the concept of prepaid medical care for workers. Under this model, it made much more sense to help people stay healthy rather than to treat them when they were sick. Prevention is the best medicine. At Kaiser Permanente, we focus on prevention in all we do. Here's an important safety tip to use when cooking this week's recipe that can prevent kitchen accidents. Have you ever puréed a hot liquid in your blender and had the lid blow off? It can happen because the steam released can build up pressure inside your blender if the lid is on tightly. Most lids have a removable central portion. When puréeing this week's hot soup, remove the central portion of the lid and cover it with a folded kitchen towel. This allows the steam to escape and the soup to stay in the blender instead of spewing all over you and the counter. The handheld immersion blenders work well for many soups, but a regular blender is need to make this asparagus soup silky smooth. The April 30, 2004 recipe of the week was for Roasted Asparagus with Feta (see link below to all archived recipes from this newsletter.) A co-worker told me it was so good she ate it ten days in a row. This week's asparagus soup was good enough to eat more than once, but it only lasted two days. I found a recipe from a 15-year old food magazine on the internet and "skinnied" it down. The original uses butter and sour cream. Nonfat sour cream and olive oil work just fine and greatly reduce the amount of fat in the soup. This recipe makes enough for six servings, each with a maximum of 7 gms fat and only 1 gm saturated fat. Remember that saturated fat levels in a 2000 calorie diet can be up to 10% of calories or about 20 gms saturated fat per day.

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups well washed, chopped white and pale green part of leeks (about 2 big ones)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs asparagus (about 2 bunches) with “woody” ends removed and cut into 1" pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup nonfat sour cream
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Sauté the leeks and garlic over low heat until the leeks begin to soften. Add the chicken stock and asparagus. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the asparagus is very tender. Purée the soup in batches using the technique described above and transfer to another saucepan. Whisk in the sour cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the lemon juice a squeeze at a time until the soup has a rich but bright flavor. (I squeeze the lemon juice into my cupped fingers and spread the fingers ever so slightly to let the juice drip into the soup while retaining the seeds in my hand.) Garnish with something green and finely chopped or even some crumbled feta or sliced avocado.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD

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