Evidently Mother Nature didn't get the memo that it's Mother's Day, which is supposed to be sunny and gorgeous with irises and lilacs in bloom. (Instead, we have a snow storm.)
They're in bloom, right along with my cherry tree and the ornamental crab out front; they're also full of snow. I'm terrified my cherries won't survive.
In honor of Mother's Day, son Sean made his famous homemade pizza for his wife Jami, son Rhyan, our neighbor Mary Pat, and me last night. We ate leftovers for lunch and thought something else might be in order for tonight. As I had planned on dinner with friends across town -- sadly canceled due to the snow storm -- I had nothing unthawed or ready to go. I did, however, have a big bunch of asparagus I hadn't yet used. The larder provided soup basics -- onions, garlic, celery, carrots, quarts of broth... and off I went.
My typical made-forever asparagus soup is brothy, blended, and light, luscious and sometimes lemony. (Recipe HERE.) Snowy tonight called for something a little more hearty--hence the chowder. A packet of Minnesota wild rice was on the shelf in the pantry and while wild rice is notoriously slow-cooking, it's also substantive, healthy, textural, and adds color not usually found in asparagus soup. Why not? I wasn't in a hurry.
If you don't want leftovers, cut the recipe in half. Otherwise, you're set for this week's lunches, right? You'll eat two bowls for dinner, I promise. For a vegan version, see notes.
Above: Onions, carrots, celery --- mirepoix -- plus herbs and wild rice.
Above: Add in the tough and fibrous ends of the fat asparagus to flavor the broth. You'll remove and discard them later.
asparagus-wild rice chowder
This is not a thick restaurant-variety chowder, but rather a lighter, more brothy version.
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup wild rice, flooded and rinsed several times
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Small handful finely chopped parsley -- leaves and stems
- 1 1/2 pounds thick asparagus--trim bottom third, chop all but tips into 1/2-inch pieces; reserve tip
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
- 2 cups water
- 4 small red potatoes, unpeeled, small dice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- Hot sauce (I like Tabasco)
COOK'S NOTES: For a vegan version, use 2 tablespoons of olive oil in place of the butter and olive oil at the start; use only vegetable stock. Sub either coconut milk or almond milk for the dairy cream and milk -- or skip milk all together.