Fresh Asparagus Soup

Serves 4. Recipe is from Christopher Hanley.

1 lb. fresh asparagus

1 (14.5-oz.) can chicken broth

½ cup chopped onion

2 tbls. butter

2 tbls. flour

1 tsp. salt or to taste

Generous pinch of black pepper

Pinch of cayenne, optional

Pinch of nutmeg

1 cup milk

½ cup sour cream

1½ tsps. fresh lemon juice

1?3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Remove tough ends of asparagus and discard. Cut tender parts into 1-inch pieces. In large saucepan, combine asparagus, chicken broth and onion. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered until asparagus are tender, about 12 minutes.

2. Using a submersible blender, blender or food processor, purée until asparagus is finely chopped but with a hint of some texture. I like it fine but not totally puréed. Set aside.

3. In same pot you cooked the asparagus in (unless you puréed the mixture with a submersible blender), melt butter and whisk in the flour, salt, black pepper, pinch of cayenne and nutmeg. Cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.

4. Add the puréed asparagus mixture and milk. Stir gently over medium heat until mixture is heated throughout.

5. In small bowl, combine sour cream and lemon juice. Stir to blend. Add a little of the hot soup to the sour cream mixture to temper it before stirring it into the pot of asparagus soup. Taste for seasoning. Heat until hot but do not boil.

6. After serving, sprinkle the top of the soup with a generous pinch of grated Parmesan cheese.