Potato and Asparagus Soup

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The Potato Year: 300 Classic Recipes

The Potato Year

By Lucy Madden

Published 2015

  • About

The Egyptians ate wild asparagus before the completion of the Pyramids. The Romans relished it. It has been said that when the Emperor Augustus wished to terminate some unpleasant business, he would proclaim, ‘Let it be done quicker than you would cook asparagus.’


  • 8 oz (225 g) potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 large bundles of asparagus, approx. lb (700 g)
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • pints (900 ml) chicken stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cut off the tips of the asparagus and reserve. Discard any coarse stalks.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion gently until translucent. Add the potato and the asparagus spears (but not the tips) and cook for a few minutes. Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil and cook until the vegetables are tender. Liquidise the soup, and strain through a sieve to remove any coarse pieces of the stem. Season and reheat in a clean pan. Put in the asparagus tips and cook for about 5 minutes until they are just tender.

‘A population whose ordinary food is wheat and beef and whose ordinary drink is porter and ale can retrench in a period of scarcity and resort to cheaper kinds of food such as barley, oats, rice and potatoes. But those who are habitually and entirely fed on potatoes live upon the extreme verge of human subsistence, and when they are deprived of their accustomed food there is nothing cheaper to which they can resort … there is nothing beyond but starvation and beggary.’

From The Economic History of Ireland from the Union to the Famine by George O’Brien, 1921.

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