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Asparagus Soup with Pecans and Brown Butter

Adapted from Stephanie Meyer

Ingredients
2 1/2 lbs. asparagus spears
6 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 leeks, pale green & white parts only, sliced thin
sea salt
4 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. heavy cream (optional)
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
2 Tbsp. minced chives
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans

Cut tough ends off of asparagus and discard. Cut remaining asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces, setting aside 1 c. of the tips.

In a large soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp. of butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. When oil has heated, toss in asparagus, shallots, garlic, leeks and a pinch of salt and sauté until vegetables soften (about 10 mins).

Poor stock over vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in small batches in a blender or with an emulsifier, adding cream slowly. Return pureed soup to pot, add lemon juice and salt to taste. Keep warm.

Use a small skillet over medium heat to melt remaining 4 Tbsp. of butter. Toast pecans in butter until both are browned. Remove pecans from butter and transfer to a plate; sprinkle with a bit of salt. Add reserved asparagus tips to pan and saute, over medium heat, until warmed through and slightly browned.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with pecans, chives, and spoonfuls of asparagus spears, drizzling a bit of the butter over the top. Serve immediately.