2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds asparagus (~2 bunches)
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only
1 small shallot
1 medium Yukon Gold potato
1 garlic clove
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 cups water
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
DirectionsCombine the vegetable stock, water, thyme, and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and start to bring a boil. Grab one of the asparagus stalks and bend it until it snaps into two pieces. This is the natural breaking point and tells you where the fibrous stalk becomes tender. Trim the root ends from the remaining asparagus to roughly match one you snapped. Add all of the root ends to the stock, bring to a boil, and let simmer while you chop the remaining vegetables.
Cut the rest of the asparagus into one-inch pieces, leaving the tip ends intact. Trim the root off of the leek, cut it in half lengthwise, and rinse away any dirt. Roughly chop the leek, shallot, and potato into half-inch pieces. Mince the garlic.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat for a couple minutes and then add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the leek, shallot, and potato and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the alliums are translucent and the potato is softening. You can prevent browning by covering with a lid or turning the heat down slightly as needed.
Stir in the garlic and, once fragrant, strain the simmering stock into the pot with the vegetables. Discard the asparagus root ends, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the chopped asparagus to the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If you want, remove a few asparagus tips after 3 minutes and reserve these for garnish. Turn off the heat after 5-7 minutes of total simmering time. Stir in the lemon juice, salt to taste, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Puree the soup in two batches using a blender, food mill, or food processor. Remember to remove the cap from the blender lid or the food pusher from the food processor when pureeing hot liquids. If you plan on serving the soup at a later time (it is good chilled, too!), chill the soup using an ice bath to help retain the vibrant green color.
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.