Monday, 17 September 2012

Asparagus and Potato Soup

a vegan dish

I've recently discovered I actually like asparagus so I bought a lot of it last Saturday while shopping for groceries.  The downside, however, is that they don't like to linger in my crisper for a long time.  They tend to wilt and become stringy and inedible if you leave them hanging around for more than three days in your fridge.  Three various stir-fry recipes later, I was at risk of causing myself to become sick of it.  I was so intent at consuming it quickly before it went past its keeping period that I almost began to dislike it.

The solution?  Soup.  I don't know what it is about vegetable soup that seems to make everything better for me.

If you follow the recipe strictly, you'll come up with a bowl that will serve:

- 1 person if he/she isn't having anything else,
- 2 people if they're eating other stuff

You will need:
- 5 asparagus stalks (To prepare: Chop off and throw away the woody part at the bottom of each stalk.  Finely chop 2 whole stalks.  Halve the three remaining stalks crosswise.  Chop the bottom halves and leave the top halves intact.
- 1 medium sized potato, boiled and mashed or blended
- 3 cups of vegetable stock or water
- ¼ cup of chopped onion 
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 pinch of chopped fresh/dried marjoram leaves  
- 1 pinch of chopped fresh/dried parsley leaves 
- salt for seasoning 
- black pepper for seasoning 
- 3 tablespoons of sweet-salty flavouring sauce (Lee Kum Kee Vegetarian Stir-Fry Sauce or any vegetarian oyster mushroom sauce if available)

If you don't have pre-made flavouring sauce, you can use this:
Mix 1½ tablespoon of soy sauce, ½ tablespoon of molasses or brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot water.

Let's make some soup:
1. In a saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil for half a minute. 
2. Drop in the chopped asparagus and sauté for another 30 seconds. 
3. Pour in your vegetable stock (or water) and drop in the intact asparagus halves. 
4. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for 5 minutes over low heat. 
5. After 5 minutes, remove the intact tips and set them aside for later. 
6. Sprinkle in your marjoram and parsley leaves. 
7. Add in the mashed potato and pour in the flavouring sauce. 
8. Bring to the boil with continuous stirring to fully mix the ingredients. 
9. When it comes to the boil, simmer covered over low heat for 10 minutes with occasional stirring to scrape anything that sticks to the sides (because, yes, it will definitely happen). 
10. Season with salt and pepper to your palate's desire. 
11. Before serving, garnish with the intact asparagus tips like I did in the picture above.  And if you're wondering, of course you can eat them!

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