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