Spring is like a capricious kid. One minute it’s sunny and warm, and the next minute it’s rainy and wet. The climate changes are, in fact, so frequent that it’s hard to tell whether winter is really over. Whether it’s “Dr. Jekyll-like bad days” or “Mr. Hyde-like good days”, I love that Spring always brings the abundance of asparagus, one of my favorite vegetables of all seasons. How exciting it is to see many grocery stores’ entrances being decorated with luscious, green asparagus every Spring. It makes me smile to think about having longer day light, warmer days and lots of outdoor activities to do. To celebrate the arrival of this long awaited Spring, I am making a lavender asparagus chicken soup in my California kitchen today.
To start, I break off the bottom tough ends of 3 lbs asparagus and cut them into 2 inch lengths. Then, I place them in a bowl, cover with a wet paper towel and microwave for 5 minutes. Separately, in a large pot, I preheat ¼ cup 7th taste lavender olive oil and sauté 2 onions (chopped) and 2 cloves garlic (crushed) until onion turns translucent. Then, I stir in 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cubed & seasoned with salt & pepper), 2 potatoes (peeled & cubed) and 1 cup short grain rice (i.e. sushi rice). Then, I add 8 cups chicken broth, ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley (chopped), 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, ¼ cup dry white wine, ¼ cup juice from fresh lemons, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Next, I bring the pot to boil and simmer until the rice and potatoes are cooked. Next, in a food processor, I puree the asparagus until smooth and then stir it in the pot. Lastly, I bring the pot to boil again and then turn it off. Right before serving, I drizzle some of my lavender olive oil and sprinkle with some fresh parsley leaves.
What a creamy, delectable soup this is! The aroma of the asparagus puree first whispers like a soft Spring breeze. Then, when it gets blended with my lavender olive oil, crunchy onion bites, refreshing lemon, hearty potato, velvety rice and light chicken meats, its flavor and texture becomes even more irresistible. So refreshing yet hearty, it is a perfect Spring meal. I especially love that the skinless, boneless chicken meats, which deliciously balance out the acid of the lemon, don't weigh me down. Whether it’s a cold rainy evening or sunny warm afternoon, this asparagus lavender soup will delight everyone this Spring. In fact, I made a large pot of this soup for a friend’s birthday party, and the whole pot was gone. Many guests went in for 2nd servings and asked for the recipe. When I see an empty pot of my dish at the dinner party, I know it is a great dish others would enjoy making and eating at home. So, next time when you pick up a bunch of asparagus at your local Farmers Market, try making this soup, instead of grilling, sautéing or steaming the asparagus. You will love it. Enjoy the recipe. Happy cooking!