We all enjoy a great soup, and with this mild weather, there is always room to sneak a great soup into our dinner menu.
I had some asparagus and wanted to use my pressure cooker to create a soup for my family. And since I just purchased some fresh leeks from the farmer’s market, incorporating them was just good form.
In this Article
- What is Caramelized Leek?
- Preparing Asparagus for Soup
- Cooking tips
- Equipment needed
- How-to and step-by-step instructions on preparing your soup
- Blending Hot Soup Safely and Effectively
- Substitutions and Additions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- If you have enjoyed this asparagus with caramelized leeks soup, you may want to try my other recipes:
- Shop This Post
- Asparagus Soup with Caramelized Leeks
What is Caramelized Leek?
Caramelized leek is a delightful ingredient that can significantly enhance the flavor profile of various dishes.
It is made by slowly cooking leeks until they become deeply caramelized, bringing out their natural sweetness.
This process mellows the leek’s natural sharpness, resulting in a sweet, savory, and slightly nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with numerous ingredients, including the fresh asparagus in our soup.
Preparing Asparagus for Soup
Preparing asparagus for soup is a relatively quick and easy process. Begin by washing the asparagus thoroughly under cool running water. This rids the stalks of any dirt or debris.
Next, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks; they will naturally break where the tough part ends and the tender part begins. Then, cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. You can set aside a few whole tips for garnish if you like.
At this point, the asparagus is ready to be cooked and incorporated into your soup. Remember, it’s important not to overcook the asparagus as it could lose its vibrant green color and fresh flavor.
As you read the instructions, you may feel as if there are a few extra steps than you usually find in my recipes. However, trust me, they all work well in perfect order for you to have dinner on the table within 45 minutes.
Please start with the soup, as it is the longest, 20 minutes, to cook.
I would not use arborio or Jasmine rice. The arborio will become glue and the jasmine will not have what it takes to give a rich body to the soup.
I pureed everything on the Vitamix blender to eliminate any chunks. Do not forget to add the caramelized leeks to it, as it will give it a savory flavor.
Vitamix Blender – the kitchen helper that you cannot live without.
How-to and step-by-step instructions on preparing your soup
- Cut off and discard the woody part of the asparagus stalks. Peel and discard the skin from the remaining stalk. Cut off the asparagus tips and set aside. Chop the remaining stalks into 1-inch pieces.
- In your pressure cooker pan, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the asparagus stalk pieces and the green leek parts. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock. Insert a sprig of tarragon. Follow your pressure cooker’s instructions to seal and set a 20-minute timer.
- Add 1 ¼ cup of lightly salted water in a separate saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the rice, cover the pan, lower the heat, and let it simmer for 13 minutes. Set aside when it’s done.
- Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the white parts of the leeks and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the pressure cooker finishes, scoop some soup and add it to the frying pan with the leeks to deglaze it.
- Pour the remaining soup from the pressure cooker into a blender, add the caramelized leeks, and blend until smooth.
- Pour the blend back into the pan, add the cooked rice and asparagus tips, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
Blending Hot Soup Safely and Effectively
Blending hot soup can be tricky and potentially dangerous if not done correctly. Here are some tips to do it safely and effectively.
First, using a blender designed to handle hot liquids is essential. Many blenders are not, and scalding liquids can cause the lid to blow off, posing a burn risk.
Therefore, always check your blender’s instructions before blending hot soup.
If your blender can handle hot liquids, fill it no more than halfway and ensure the lid is on tight.
Start at a low speed and gradually increase to avoid splashing.
Lastly, consider using an immersion blender or stick blender.
These handy tools allow you to blend the soup directly in the pot, making the process safer and more accessible.
Substitutions and Additions
In case you do not have specific ingredients on hand or prefer to alter the recipe according to your taste or dietary restrictions, here are some suggestions:
Leeks: If you can’t find medium leeks, substitute them with onions or shallots. This will slightly change the soup’s flavor but will still be delicious.
Chicken stock: You can substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock for a vegetarian version of the soup.
Butter: If vegan or lactose intolerant, use olive oil or a plant-based butter substitute.
Rice: You can replace the rice with other grains like quinoa or barley or even use a potato to thicken the soup.
Tarragon: If you’re not a fan of tarragon, feel free to substitute it with other herbs like thyme, dill, or parsley.
Asparagus tips garnish: For an extra indulgent touch, consider adding a swirl of sour cream or a sprinkle of grated cheese as a garnish instead of or in addition to the asparagus tips.
Storing this delicious Asparagus and Leek soup is relatively straightforward.
After the soup has cooled down, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last up to 5 days, making it a great make-ahead meal option.
If you wish to store the soup for a more extended period, you can freeze it.
To freeze, let the soup cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. This soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to eat the soup, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
To reheat the soup, transfer it to a pot and heat it over medium heat until it’s hot, stirring occasionally.
If the soup is too thick after storing, add a bit of water or broth during reheating to reach your desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen asparagus for this recipe?
Yes, frozen asparagus can be used in this recipe. However, remember that frozen asparagus might be a bit softer once cooked, so you might want to add it a bit later in the cooking process to retain some crunchiness.
Can I use other types of rice if I don’t have the one specified?
Yes, you can use different rice types, but remember that the texture and cooking time might vary. Long-grain rice varieties tend to keep their shape better after cooking and might be more suitable for this recipe.
I’m trying to cut down on sodium. Any recommendations for this recipe?
To reduce sodium, you can use low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth and refrain from adding extra salt. Remember that you can add but can’t take away, so it’s better to add less salt at the beginning and adjust the seasoning at the end.
Can I make this soup in a slow cooker?
Yes, this soup can be made in a slow cooker. You’d want to sauté the leeks and asparagus first and then add them to the slow cooker with the other ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Blend and add the rice and asparagus tips near the end of the cooking time.
If you have enjoyed this asparagus with caramelized leeks soup, you may want to try my other recipes:
Shop This Post
Asparagus Soup with Caramelized Leeks
- 2 pounds asparagus
- 2 large leeks, White and green separate, the green part cut into small rounds, the white part quartered and then each section thinly sliced, about 1 1/2 cup
- ½ cup long grain rice (jasmati)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sping tarragon, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Remove the woody part of the asparagus stalk. Peel the remaining asparagus stalk and discard all peelings. Cut the tips and reserve them. Cut the remainder stalk into 1-inch length.
- In the pan of your pressure cooker, add 1 tablespoon butter and add the stalks chunks of the asparagus and the green part of the leeks. Sauté for 3 minutes and then cover with 3 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken stock. Add tarragon spring. Follow your pressure cooker instruction, close the lid, and set the timer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a small saucepan, bring 1 ¼ cup of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in the rice and cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 13 minutes, or until the rice is almost done. Keep aside when done.
- In a large frying pan melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the whites of the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until they are nicely brown.
- Once the asparagus and leek soup in the pressure cooker is done, remove a ladle of the soup and place it in the skillet with the leeks to scrape up any brown bits.Transfer the content of the soup pot to a large blender, add the caramelized leek and puree them together well.
- Return them to the pan, add the cooked rice to it. Add the asparagus tips return to a boil. Lower the heat: simmer for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
Did you make this?
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This recipe was originally published on May, 21, 2020.