Hi, everyone! What a week of basketball this has been with Villanova winning the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, Notre Dame claiming the NCAA Women's Basketball
Championship, and IU winning the Women's National Invitational Tournament! It's going to be so hard to wait until the next college basketball season starts!
On a different note, it's cold outside! Cold enough that we're still getting snow in Indiana - in the spring. Needless to say, this crazy spring weather calls for some hot soup! I have to tell you that when I created this asparagus clam soup, I had no idea how it would turn out. But I thought it was worth a try since asparagus truly shines in the spring - and clams are delicious any time of the year!
Thanks to the fresh asparagus, salty clams, meaty mushrooms, homey brown rice, pungent garlic and onions, fresh earthy parsley, and the heat from the Tabasco sauce, Colin and I fell in love with this soup! There's something special about enjoying all of these delicious ingredients together in one bite!
While developing this recipe, I decided that I wanted the broth to primarily consist of chicken broth - with just a touch of milk and Half-and-Half. I don't generally feel well if I consume a large amount of cream, so this is NOT intended to be a creamy clam chowder type of soup (Creamy clam chowder is delicious, but so is feeling well). What's nice about using a touch of Half-and-Half in this soup is that it provides just a hint of richness. And by adding the milk and Half-and-Half near the end of the cooking process, I did not have any challenges with the soup curdling. But if you would prefer to create a thick broth, you could add some flour, cornstarch, or maybe a pureed potato to thicken it.
For this recipe you could always buy frozen clams and thaw them ahead of time. But to make life easier, I used canned whole baby clams - and the soup turned out great! Speaking of clams, these bad boys are a terrific source of iron and have been placed on the "Least Mercury" list by the National Resources Defense Council. This indicates that that among the seafood that's out there, clams contain one of the lowest amounts of mercury.
Before I wrap this up, I should mention that if you prefer that the asparagus offers a soft texture and a subtle flavor, follow this recipe as it's written. For a firmer texture and stronger flavor, you could add the asparagus the last couple of minutes of the cooking process. It's also nice to pass a bottle of Tabasco sauce around the dinner table when you serve this soup for anyone who wants to add some extra heat!
If you make this dish, I'd love to know how it turns out in the comment section below! And if you're looking for additional asparagus recipes, check out my Asparagus and Napa Cabbage Stir-Fry! Happy cooking and eating!
Yield: 6-7 servings (Allow yourself to listen to your hunger/fullness cues)
1 tablespoon canola oil (Or olive oil)
1 small white onion, diced (2 cups)
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced, divided (7-8 cloves)
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Freshly ground black pepper (Adjust to taste)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 10-ounce cans whole baby clams in their juice (1 1/2 cups)
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (Around 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 cup 2% milk (Or milk of your choice)
3 tablespoons Half-and-Half
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 bunch scallions, sliced, green part (Around 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (Adjust to taste)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)
1.Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick dutch oven or stock pot, using the medium heat setting. When the oil is hot, place the onions in the pot, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Next, toss the 1 tablespoon of minced garlic into the mixture, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Then add the mushrooms and a dash of pepper, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
2. Next, pour the chicken broth, clams in their juice, and asparagus into the pot, stirring a few times. Bring to a boil, followed by simmering the soup for 10 minutes. Then add the milk and Half-and-Half to the mixture, whisking until well combined. Continue to simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Remove the lid from the pot. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic, cooked rice, scallions, parsley, and Tabasco sauce to the soup. Stir a few times. Taste the soup. If desired, add the salt - adjusting to taste as needed. Serve promptly - placing a bottle of Tabasco sauce on the table for anyone who wants to add some extra heat. Crackers also pair well with this dish. Enjoy!