For the soup:
- 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pounds asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths (tough ends removed and discarded)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
- 4 white onions, chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (approximately, or as needed to create roux)
- 1 pint heavy cream
For the crab souffle:
- 1 pound colossal crabmeat
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced plus 1 or 2 lemons cut in wedges, for garnish
For the soup:
Bring stock and bay leaves to a boil in a large pot. Cook asparagus until tender and add to stock pot. Melt butter in a separate saucepan and gently saute onions, celery, and carrots (mirepoix) until tender, then gradually add flour (with a non-reactive utensil such as a wooden spoon), and cook until similar to a roux. Transfer to the pot of stock to thicken soup. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Remove bay leaves from soup. *Blend to a puree with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor. Add cream to the soup, and keep warm over low heat.
For the crab "souffle," mix crab, mayonnaise, thyme, salt and pepper, and squeeze of fresh lemon juice, trying to avoid breaking up the lumps of crabmeat. Place a scoop of the crabmeat in the center of soup bowl and ladle the asparagus soup around. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.