Asparagus Tomato Soup

     1 medium onion coarsely chopped
     1 carrot coarsely chopped
     2 tablespoons butter
     2 tablespoons flour
     2 cups chopped tomatoes
     5 cups chicken broth
     1/2 teaspoon sugar
     1 tablespoon chopped parsley
     1 bay leaf
     1/2 teaspoon thyme
     1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
     Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
     1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus

This soup has a wonderful flavor and includes the wonderful fresh spring asparagus and the Herb of the Year, Bay. In a large saucepan, saute onion and  carrot in butter until soft.  Sprinkle with flour and cook another minute stirring until all trace of raw flour is gone.  Add remaining ingredients except the asparagus. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.  In the meantime cook the asparagus until tender but still a pretty green.  Drain and then cut stalks into thirds.  Discard the bay leaf.  Puree tomato mixture and asparagus in a blender in several batches.  Reheat the soup before serving and garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with chives.

Recipe by Nancy Moore.

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