A pressure cooker is the perfect tool for cooking the asparagus in this cream of asparagus soup recipe, while an immersion blender will give you a velvety-smooth texture. Using half white asparagus, which is milder and more tender than its green counterpart, will give this soup a more delicate flavor, but it can be hard to find fresh. If you can't locate it, the soup is just as delicious if you use all green asparagus.
- Break or cut the stems off asparagus at their toughest point. (To determine where this is, bend a stem until it breaks. The breaking point will be where the stem begins to get tender) Cut 8 to 12 tips from the asparagus and reserve for a garnish. Cut asparagus stalks into 2-inch pieces.
- In the base of a pressure cooker, heat butter until melted, tilting to completely coat the bottom of the pan. Add the shallots and saute over medium heat until shallots are translucent. Add the asparagus pieces (except the tips reserved for garnish) and the vegetable stock, then lock pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure. When pressure is reached, set a timer for 10 minutes and adjust heat to maintain pressure.
- Meanwhile, place asparagus tips in a small microwaveable bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover bowl partially with a lid, a small plate or plastic wrap and cook in microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until tips are bright green and tender. Set aside.
- When asparagus mixture is cooked, remove the pan from heat and release pressure using the "quick release" method. When pressure has been completely released, open the lid and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then, using an immersion blender, puree asparagus mixture until smooth (This can also be done in a blender). Stir in heavy cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with asparagus tips.