SERVES 4 – 6
Asparagus growers usually discard the skinny shoestring asparagus spears, but they are perfect for this preparation.
2 lbs. fresh shoestring asparagus
4 cups Chicken Stock
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare asparagus by holding bottom half of each spear with both hands and gently bending it until it snaps where it naturally breaks, separating tough fibrous end from tender part (see Prepping Asparagus). Discard ends. Drain and cut into pieces.
2. Put asparagus and chicken stock into a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until very soft, 10–15 minutes. Set aside 2 cups of the broth. Working in batches, purée asparagus and remaining broth in the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, then return to pot and set aside.
3. Melt butter in a medium-heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved warm broth. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to pot with asparagus purée. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Add milk and return soup to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.