Let me preface this post with a caution: There is no photo on earth that could do this recipe justice. It was "the best soup I've had in a long time" according to the Mister.
I use two methods to make vegetarian and vegan soups thick (not liking to use cream, myself).
1. Make a roux
2. Blend 1/4 of the soup in the blender before serving
It really does make a difference, and I usually use both methods in the same soup, although the blender is the most successful, the roux adds a bit of flavor.
Let's Dive In!
2 cups diced red potatoes
1 pound fresh asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 or 6 cups of vegetable broth
1.5 cups of plain soymilk
1 to 1.5 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup of butter or substitute
4 tbsp. flour
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp sage (or two leaves fresh)
1 cup finely shredded cheese of your choice (optional)
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
Saute the onion, celery and garlic in a large pot, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the broth, soymilk, salt, pepper, asparagus, potatoes, and herbs and bring to a simmer.
Roux: In a skillet, melt the butter and then add in your flour, mixing with a spoon or whisk until the flour is incorporated and no chunks are left. Be careful to do this over low heat and not to burn. (You cannot just add the raw/cold flour to the soup, it will only result in lumpy clumps of flour.) Add the roux to the soup, and the liquid smoke, if using.
Continue to simmer the soup until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Then transfer, carefully, about 1/4 of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Add this back into the soup, mixing well.
If you want to add cheese, do so now, and cook another two minutes, stirring constantly.
Viola! Asparagus Chowder!
We served ours with a fresh garlic baguette from the local bakery. Heaven.