2014 CCW Life is Rose with a wonderful Asparagus Soup

May 2014 Recipe pairing with 2014 CCW Life is Rose-

The recent release ( March 2014) of CCW Life is a Rose pairs incredibly well to a seasonal favorite, Washington State Asparagus, you can choose any locally grown asparagus for the following recipe but make sure to pick the most locally grown and harvested to get the freshest product available.

Washington’s Asparagus crop is grown very close to where CCW’s grapes and with the hundreds of ways to prepare Asparagus you can’t go wrong pairing it with a CCW wine, red or white.

Asparagus gets its name from Greek language meaning “sprout” or “shoot.” It was first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean and served to royalty throughout the region. It then made its way to Egypt, Spain, France and England and finally to the America’s.  Today everyone can enjoy the great taste and nutrition Asparagus offers.  Washington’s crop comes from the approximately 7000 planted acres in the Columbia Basin, Yakima Valley and Walla Walla areas. Twenty two million pounds is harvested annually, that’s a lot of asparagus! Our farmer’s produce about 40% of the annual crop harvested in America; let’s support them this spring by using this great vegetable!  We should start seeing product regularly in local markets sometime within the month depending on weather but May through June are peak months in most years.

This month we are going to feature the 2014 CCW Life is Rose with a wonderful Asparagus Soup. Served in a soup cup, this is a great first course or served in a bowl with a little Dungeness crab or small Oregon Coldwater Shrimp, with crusty baguettes, it makes for a light lunch or dinner course.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Serves approximately:

12 First Course

8 Lunch or Dinner Courses

Ingredients

3lb’s Fresh Asparagus-medium-sized, crisp stalks with compact tips

8C Chicken or Vegetable Stock

4T Butter

1/2C Minced Shallots

1/2C Minced Leeks (white to light green only)

1T Garlic Minced

1/2t Salt

1/4t White Pepper-black works but shows up more in finished product

1/2C Heavy Cream

Prepare Asparagus by snapping the stalks towards the lower third of the stem. Cut the lower stalk into ½” pieces. Bring the stock to a simmer and add the lower stalk pieces and simmer 20-30 minutes. After the stems have simmered strain and reserve the stock, discard the woody stems pieces.

Once the stock is strained you cut the remaining stalks just below the tip. Blanch the tips for two minutes in salted boiling water. Cool in ice bath immediately. The middle portion of the stems will be used as the soup base. Cut them into ¼” pieces. Using the same pot you simmered the stock in and add the butter, melt over low heat, add the shallots, leeks, and garlic. Cook until the shallots are transparent; add the middle portion of the stems- heat for 5 more minutes at low heat. Add the asparagus flavored stock back to the pot and simmer 30 minutes. If you have an immersion blender puree the soup, make sure all pieces are pureed. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can do the same in a kitchen blender or a food processor and get the same results-I always add some of the stock to help puree. Once the soup is pureed, add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Just prior to serving steam the stems for 1 minute-you really just want to warm them. Serve in warm soup cups or bowls and garnish with asparagus tips, warmed crab, or, cooked cold-water shrimp.

Life is Rose is a great accompaniment to this soup. Its refreshing notes of orange, grapefruit and lemon pepper pair well with the richness of asparagus and cream. This spring and early summer enjoy the finest that Washington has to offer from our local farms and Coyote Canyon Winery.

Cheers!!!

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