Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vegan Cream of Asparagus and Leek


I've come down with a terrible cold and felt that soup was the way to start my week off right, not to mention the added bonus of soup for lunch the rest of the week. I hit Vons and grabbed two bunches of asparagus with large stalks, they can be larger since we are pureeing them, and two large leeks. Being lactose intolerant can be a big bummer when you love creamy soup and cheese. I decided to try figuring out a vegan version of the soup using a vegan roux. A roux is a thickening agent made by mixing melted butter and flour, often used to make cheese sauce and gumbo.

2 asparagus bunches
2 leeks
Better than Bouillon- vegetable
Earthbound vegan butter
Silk unsweetened soy milk or soy creamer
whole wheat flour
1 clove of garlic

Blender or food processor
optional- sieve

Start by cleaning your leeks, they can be a bit sandy, and chop them into about 1" sections, stopping at the dark ends. This is where you can smell their relation to the onion and may even tear up a tad. Cut them in quarters lengthwise. Cut your asparagus tips off at about 2" or so and save for later. Then cut the rest of the stalks into 1" sections. Make 8 cups of vegetable stock following the directions on the bouillon.

In your soup pot start melt a tablespoon of the vegan butter and saute the leeks and asparagus with salt and pepper. Add your chopped clove of garlic. When the leeks begin to release the onion smell and become slightly translucent add 4 cups vegetable stock. Let the veggies cook down.

Let's make some vegan roux. I'll admit that I initially only made one table spoon of butter and one tablespoon of flour's worth. But later, I found that I needed more for the soup to really get creamy. So, let's do 3 tablespoons of butter melted in our sauce pan. Add 3 tablespoons of wheat flour and mix until you get a paste. Now gradually add the soy milk, constantly stirring. You will notice how the paste suddenly becomes a creamy sauce.

Now we get to take that yummy cream sauce and add it to the soup. But not all at once. that can be a bit lumpy. Add a small amount of the soup from the pot to the sauce pan and mix together. Then add the soupy sauce to the pot. Stir it all up and reduce your flame down to med-low.

In a small saute start up some vegan butter melting and throw in those asparagus tips. Shake that pan. If you can flip a fancy pancake go ahead and show off. Flip those asparagus tips in the air. Add some veg stock and simmer till a tender.

Now for the fun/painful step: Blending. OK this part is scary but fun. Take a few cups of the soup and add to your blender. Make sure you cover the lid with a dishtowel or you will most likely burn the heck out of your hand. I know this because that's exactly what I did at this step. Hot steamy green shot up out off the lid and scorched my palm. Yowzah that hurt like a you-know-what! After that I learned to put the rag firmly over the lid when I blend.

Blend the soup in batches until you have a pot full of smooth green goop. If you have a sieve I recommend running the soup through so that you can remove any remaining fibers.

Heat back up to simmer.

You are ready to serve! Add the asparagus tips you cooked earlier to the bowls of soup for extra asparagus lovin'.


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