Asparagus Bisque

Joel and I have made this recipe before for some friends, but it was a long time ago. We got it from Recipes From Wine Country, the cookbook we bought in Niagara on the Lake. There is a picture in the book of the soup, and in the picture it is much more green than the one we made. Ours was not a pretty color. The only thing I could think of when I saw it was the movie The Exorcist. I think you know what I mean!

This time that we made it, Joel did not measure the spices and therefore it was quite spicy. Almost too spicy for my taste. Aside from the spice, I think it might have been kind of bland. It did taste good with the panninis that we made. Recipe to follow!

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Onion, chopped
2 Leeks, white part only-chopped
2 cups Potato, peeled and cubed
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (Joel got a little out of hand here!)
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 cup Dry White Wine (we didn't have any so we used Champagne)
6 cups Chicken Stock (we used Vegetable Stock)
3 tablespoons Olive OIl
3 cups Asparagus, chopped
1/2 cup Half & Half
1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter. Add the onion, leeks, and potoato and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and stirr for about 5 minutes. Add paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Add the white wine and stock, bringing to a rapid boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

While the soup is cooking, in a separate pan, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil with the asparagus. Cook until the asparagus becomes soft and tender, stirring frequently to avoid browning. Add the asparagus to the soup pot and mix it with the other ingredients. Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients. Add the cream and return the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the vinegar, salt, and pepper.