3 pounds fresh asparagus
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Snap off tough ends of asparagus. Remove scales from stalks with a vegetable peeler or knife, if desired. Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Place asparagus, water, and onion in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Combine asparagus mixture and 1/2 cup milk in container of an electric blender; cover and process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down sides. Set aside.
Melt butter in saucepan; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add remaining 2 cups milk and half-and-half.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in asparagus puree, salt, and pepper. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve warm or chilled.
Yield: 2 quarts.
Recipe source: Biltmore Estates Specialites of the House, Cathy A. Wesler, Oxford Press, 1994