Thursday, 10 May 2012

Asparagus, Rosemary and Roasted Garlic soup (and a book review too)

Soups, who doesn't like them? There is such a great variety of recipes and techniques, that you can always find a favourite among them. New Covent Garden Food Co is passionate about soup, and no wonder, their cartons of soup fly off the shelves.

I received the book "A soup for every day" as a gift, and was thrilled to have this addition to my cook books. The layout of the book is a bit like a diary: it truly is a recipe per day.
Soups vary from quite simple traditional soups like Roasted tomato with basil puree, Courgette and tarragon to more sophisticated Cream of celeriac and truffle, or Barolo and blackberry.

I looked through the selection of recipes for May, and loved the sound of the Asparagus, Rosemary and Roasted garlic soup.

With the kind persmission from New Covent Garden Food Co, I am going to post the recipe of this gorgeous soup.
My only words of warning: don't eat it if you go on a date (it is verrry garlicky, though absolutely delicious).


Serves 4
1 large glass jar
3 heads of garlic
570ml extra virgin olive oil
3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 medium onion, sliced finely
450g fresh asparagus, cut into 5cm pieces
1 tbsp plain flour
850ml vegetable stock
150ml single cream

To garnish:
2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest of, grated

I will add my own comments at the end of the recipe, as I have slightly changed the quantities of some ingredients.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Sterilise a large glass jar by putting a clean jar in theoven for 10 min, take it out of the oven and allow to cool.
3. To roast the garlic, remove any excess papery skin from the garlic heads, then place onto a small baking tin with 3tbsp of olive oil. Roast for 15-20 mins until soft. Remove from the oven, then allow to cool, trim off the top 1cm, then pack the garlic and sprigs of rosemary into the sterilised jar and completely cover the garlic with the remaining olive oil. Seal the jar and leave overnight.

4. For the soup: heat 4 tbsp of the infused garlic and rosemary oil from the jar in a saucepan, add the onion, then cover and cook gently for 5 mins. peel and finely chop 4 cloves of the infused garlic, add to the saucepan, and then cook gently for the further 5 mins, without browning.

5. Add the asparagus and cook gently for 2 mins. Stir in the flour, then cook gently for a further 2 mins. Gradually add the stock, stirring all the time. Cover, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the asparagus is tender.

6. Blend until very smooth, then pass through a fine sieve to remove any stringy fibres. Reheat gently, add the cream, then season to taste. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and lemon  zest.
This soup is delicous served chilled.

I very rarely follow the recipe very closely, and I did adjust some quantities.
I didn't use as much olive oil as stated in the list of ingredients.
Instead of 3 heads of garlic, I used two big ones, and that was plenty. I also added one medium potato to the soup as well as a few basil leaves, and garnished the soup with the coriander and a dollop of yogurt rather than parsley with lemon.
The flavours of the soup are very robust, you first get a very pronounced taste of garlic, then the rosemary comes along.
As I used new season asparagus, it was tender enough, without hard bits, so I didn't pass the soup through the sieve, and we didn't notice any stringy bits.

This soup is gorgeous, and I will be making it again.
Also you are left with some garlic infused olive oil in the jar, that you can use to marinade chicken or add to the roast potatoes or any other vegetables.

Now going back to the book, I love the idea of soups for every day of the year, though that does present an issue with some recipes being very similar.
The comments on Amazon tend to criticise a not very well planned Index at the end of the book, and I have to agree, it is not perfect (for example, I would not put Plum tomato and basil soup under P, but with the rest of the tomato recipes, or perhaps put it in the Index twice under both P and Tomato).
But that would be a nit-picking. On the whole, this is a remarkable book for any soup lovers.You will get lots of inspiration and ideas.

I am entering this soup in the Herbs on Saturday Challenge. Herbs used for the recipe are: rosemary, basil and coriander.


  1. What a GREAT book and a lovely recipe too...and a perfect entry for Herbs on Saturday too! LOVE the roasting idea in the jar as well....thanks for this lovely entry.

  2. I think I'll be making some of that infused garlic,it looks very useful.

  3. Not normally a fan of asparagus but this looks yummy!

  4. Thanks for this lovely soup recipe. I love making homemade sup, especially during the colder months, so will give this a try!

    1. I love soups, and this one was tasty. The book is a great source of inspiration

  5. I followed this yesterday morning before we went for a walk along the coast. It really warmed our cockles when we got home as it was bright but the wind was biting! Usually I make a Sunday dinner but I knew I wouldn't have time - this was really tasty so thank you!

  6. Soupa Doupa Souperb!!! LOL We all love soup in our house - I make lots but buy lots too, as many brands make soup that tastes home made!!! Soup is a great tummy warmers and makes you feel better when you aren't feeling too good :)

    1. Which brand would you suggest? I love New Covent garden soups