It was my husband’s birthday yesterday! His last year in his 20’s (OH MY GOD!!). So to celebrate, I initially thought I would have a private chef come to our apartment and cook a nice 4-course meal for us. Yea, not so much! Private chefs cost the equivalent of a first-born here in Manhattan! And I don’t even have a first born!Then I got inspired and decided to make the 4-course meal myself, complete with appropriate wine pairings. I also decided I wouldn’t make the meal gluttonous, but rather on the healthy side without sacrificing flavor. Case in point, this soup, our first course. Since it’s springtime, asparagus are just coming into the markets. I happened to land a particularly tender bunch which gave the soup a grassy, fresh finish…yum! (I paired it with a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc which was also a little grassy. You can also pair it with an Un-oaked Chardonnay- ask your wine-seller to suggest one). There aren’t a lot of ingredients, and the overall preparation is super simple. I’m not a big fan of too much cream in my soup- and this soup is the perfect texture on its own- but I added a seasoned dill yogurt as garnish to give it some extra creaminess and tang. My husband LOVED it, and I am sure you will too! Especially all my friends who have been asking me for a recipe with fewer ingredients and short cook time.
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped (alternatively, one medium white onion)2 bay leaves1 large carrot, chopped2 celery stalks, chopped1 garlic clove, smashed1 lb asparagus, chopped (save a few of the tips for garnish if you want)2 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie stock (Use veggie if you want to make this vegetarian)¼ cup chopped dill + 1 tbsp for yogurtJuice of ½ lemonSalt and pepper to taste4 tbsp Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt if that’s what you have)
Heat up about 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium pot. When hot, add leeks and bay leaves, and sauté until leeks soften, about 5 min. Add carrot, celery, and garlic, and sauté until leeks caramelize and brown, about 8 min (if the veggies start to stick, add a little water). Add asparagus and sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes, then add chicken/veggie stock and bring to a boil. Add ¼ cup of dill, and remove bay leaves. Off the heat, and blend mixture in either a traditional blender/food processor, or with an immersion blender (great investment!). Bring soup back to a simmer, and add salt/pepper to taste, and the lemon juice. In the meantime, combine the yogurt with the 1 tbsp chopped dill and a little bit of salt to taste.To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls and add a dollop of the dill-yogurt. I also added an asparagus tip, a sprig of dill, and a lemon wedge for color. Enjoy!