Asparagus and Dill Avgolemono Soup

6 to 8 servings
  • 3 pounds asparagus
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium leek, white part coarsely chopped and washed well
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 large eggs
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • Trim off ends of asparagus and using a vegetable peeler remove about 3 to 4-inches of the skin of each stalk, reserving both the ends and peels. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces, reserving tips for garnish. In a saucepan combine the asparagus peels and trimmings with the chicken stock, bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow stock to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain stock and reserve. In a pot of salted boiling water blanch the asparagus tips for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brilliant green and barely tender, and then refresh in a bowl of ice water. When tips are chilled, drain and reserve. In a large heavy pot melt the butter over moderate heat and cook the leeks, onion and celery, seasoned with salt and pepper, until softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the 1-inch asparagus pieces and stir to combine. Add the infused stock and water, bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 8 to 10 minutes until asparagus is tender. In a blender puree the soup, in batches, until smooth. Return pureed soup to large pot and let cool to lukewarm. In a heatproof bowl whisk together eggs and approximately 1/4 cup lemon juice, adding 1 cup of the lukewarm soup in a stream, while whisking constantly. Whisk the egg mixture into the remaining soup. Cook the soup over moderately low heat without boiling, whisking constantly until thickened slightly and temperature of soup reaches 160 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Whisk in minced dill, additional lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Serve soup hot or chilled, garnished with the asparagus tips and dill sprigs.

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