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Asparagus & Snow Pea Soup with Lemon- Tarragon Cream

4 tbsp. butter
2 large onions, peeled, quartered and sliced
½ cup very thinly sliced celery
1/2 tsp. salt
2 qt. stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 lb. Snow peas, trimmed, strings removed
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1-inch lengths, tips set aside
freshly ground black pepper
Lemon-Tarragon Cream (see below)

Blanch asparagus tips in salted boiling water until tender. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking; set aside. In a large soup pot over medium heat melt the butter, then add the onions, the celery and the salt. Gently sauté until the onions and celery are limp. Add the stock and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the onions and celery are completely cooked through. Now add the asparagus (except for the tips). One minute later add the snow peas. Simmer for approximately 7 or 8 minutes or until peas and asparagus are tender but still bright green. Quickly puree all the soup and strain out vegetable fibers. Return strained soup to pot and reheat but do not boil or the pretty bright green color will be lost. Correct for seasonings and ladle hot soup into warm serving bowls. Garnish with an asparagus tip or two and a tablespoon of Lemon-Tarragon Cream. Serve immediately. Makes approximately 10 servings.

Lemon-Tarragon Cream

1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt, or a blend of the two)
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest, very finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh lemon thyme, very finely chopped (use fresh plain thyme if you don’t have this herb)
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, very finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh chives, thinly sliced
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mix all the ingredients above in a small bowl until they are completely blended. Set aside or keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (herbs may discolor from the lemon juice, but their flavor will not be affected). Place spoonfuls of the cream on top of each bowl of soup. Makes about 1 ¼ cups cream topping.
Note: chive flowers are a gorgeous, edible garnish if your chives are blooming.

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