Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

This hearty, creamy asparagus soup can be made with any kind of cheese that melts well, but a smokey gouda adds a special depth of flavor.

For another layer of flavor, instead of sauteing the asparagus, try roasting the spears in a 350- degree oven with just a drizzle of olive oil and a little salt.

If you still have the grill set up, asparagus drizzled with olive oil and grilled until tender is even better, complementing the smokey flavor of the gouda.

As with any creamed vegetable soup, an immersion blender is your best friend, but you can always process the soup in small batches in a blender.  Remember, never overfill a blender with hot soup or you risk serious burns from spill over or worse if the top comes loose.

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Smoked Gouda Asparagus Soup (prep. time 40 minutes. Serves 6) (vegetarian, not vegan. To make vegan, consult with your favorite whole/health food store about cheese, milk and butter substitutes.)

½ lb. asparagus, diced with tips set aside (*or roast or grill whole asparagus, then dice and reserve tips)

½ onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

2 Tb. olive or vegetable oil

1 Tb. butter + 1tsp. for sautéing the asparagus tips

salt

pepper

½ tsp. curry powder

3 Tb. soy sauce

½ C. grated Gouda cheese + a little more for garnish

3 C. vegetable stock

1 C. milk

2 Tb. flour 

Heat oil and 1 Tb. butter in a medium sauce pan over medium/high heat and sauté the diced asparagus stalks, onion and celery until tender. *(alternate method, roast the asparagus spears ahead of time in the oven or grill until tender, dice and set aside.  Still saute the onion and celery in the oil and butter until tender.) Stir in flour to make a roux. (Add the roasted/grilled asparagus into the pan, reserving the tips).  Add stock, salt, pepper, curry powder and soy sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Heat remaining butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the asparagus tips until brown.  Remove from heat.

With an immersion blender, puree the soup until fairly smooth. You can puree the soup in batches in a blender.

With the soup off the heat, stir in the milk and cheese.  If you want a thicker soup, you can put a ladle-full of the soup in a bowl and slowly whisk in additional flour and stir that back into the soup.

Garnish with the browned asparagus tips and reserved Gouda.  Serve with crusty bread (like our step-by-step in photos Focaccia Bread) or crackers.

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