Cream of mushroom and asparagus soup

Our new vitamix did its job. I handed it leftover items from the refrigerator and it worked its magic — pureeing mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, and asparagus to a smooth consistency. A couple of things I’d change (due to my human error/no fault of the machine) is putting less cayenne pepper and adding more asparagus for a greener color. It’s difficult to get a bright green when more than half the ingredients are crimini and shiitake mushrooms. The mushrooms however, bring out a subtle earthiness that creates a nice base flavor. My recipe below, with modifications for next time:

Cream of mushroom and asparagus soup

1lb asparagus
1/2lb crimini mushrooms
1/2lb shiitake mushrooms
1 cup mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion)
1 tsp shallots
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and pepper to taste
homemade croutons (optional)
2 strips of bacon (optional)

1. Cook bacon in a sautee pan to render fat. Set cooked bacon aside for garnish.
2. Blanch asparagus tips in a separate pot or pan and save for garnish.
3. Sautee mirepoix and shallots in rendered bacon fat (or vegetable oil if you want something healthier) until browned.
4. Add mushrooms and asparagus ends.
5. Add white wine vinegar and reduce.
6. Add chicken stock, paprika, thyme, tarragon, basil, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and parsley. Simmer until asparagus are al dente.
7. Transfer to vitamix and puree until smooth (begin on variable 1 and work your way up to variable 8).
8. Add heavy cream on variable 1 and process for another 30 seconds.
9. Garnish with blanched asparagus tips, grated parmesan, bacon, and homemade croutons. Serve immediately.

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