Asparagus Soubise Soup

This is a recipe that i was able to come up with. Bear with me on the quantities of liquid. I usually just throw everything together and it comes out wonderfully. It is considered to be a 'soubise' because it is thickened with rice instead of other, more conventional thickening agents.

1 ea. sweet yellow onion, small dice

2 Cups small dice celery

1 pound asparagus(separate stems from tops and cut to 1/2 and inch long

1 Cup uncooked white rice

1 Cup heavy cream

.5 Pound unsalted butter

.5 Gal chicken stock, almost boiling

salt and white pepper to taste

pinch sugar.

Cook the rice. Melt a pinch of butter in at least a 4qt pot. Once hot, add celery and onion. Add the pinch of sugar to help extract the flavors of the celery and onion. Sweat this for 2-3 minutes, and add asparagus stems. Sweat for additional 5 minutes trying not to brown the onions too much. Now add hot stock and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add asparagus tops and simmer till soft. Try not to overcook, they can get a little bitter if cooked too long. Once the tops are soft, add the rice. Puree everything in the blender, straining each batch(cheesecloth, or a very fine sieve) to remove the fibers from the asparagus. Careful not to over fill the blender with the hot liquid. Doing so will create a huge mess(i know from experience). A good rule of thumb is not to fill more than 1/3 of the blender with hot liquid. Once everything is pureed and strained, return to the heat. Additional stock or milk can be added if the soup is too thick for your liking.

Finish with the heavy cream and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. I recommend seasoning the soup and letting it stay hot on a low burner for 20 minutes or so, and then tasting and seasoning again. The rice tends to suck up the salt. This should make just under a gallon of soup.