Cream of Asparagus Soup

The photo looks appetizing doesn't it? I think it looks more like something that was already digested, but thankfully it tastes excellent. My kids thought it was delicious and as usual my husband loved it too. It was fairly simple to make. The potatoes can be omitted if desired. I have made it both ways - with and without and both taste nice. 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

4 tbsp margarine or butter
1 onion, chopped OR 1 scallion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp prepared garlic or 2 cloves minced
1 1/2 Cups Half and Half
2 Cups Chicken Stock (reduce salt if using canned broth)
1 Tbsp Lemon juice (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp salt (use less if using canned broth)
10 twists fresh pepper or 1/4 tsp pepper
1 large or 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (optional)
1 lb asparagus spears, cut off the ends or soup will be stringy
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Heat butter in heavy pot. Saute onions and celery until opaque. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, potato, and asparagus. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 - 20 minutes; depending on the thickness of the spears. Stir in 1/2 and 1/2. Simmer 5 minutes longer. Using an immersion blender, or food processor, puree the soup; Taste and add salt if needed. Serve with bread or rolls.

*For a fancier presentation, reserve about 3 inches of half the spears. Microwave covered for 3 minutes with a few tablespoons of water. Top soup with steamed spears and crushed red pepper flakes.

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