2 lbs asparagus, woody ends snapped off
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp sherry or cream sherry
If the asparagus stalks are thick, gently peel them and cut into 1 inch pieces. Reserve the tips.
Place the asparagus into a pot with the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the asparagus softens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside 2 cups of broth and keep warm.
Puree the asparagus and remaining broth in a blender. Take care because hot liquids will expand when agitated, so puree in batches, if necessary. Return the puree to the pot.
Melt the butter with the flour in a saucepan and stir to create a roux. Whisk in the reserved broth, increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, stirring continuously until thickened.
Transfer to the pot with the pureed asparagus. Bring the mixture to a simmer. While stirring, add the half and half, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the sherry and incorporate well.
Saute or roast the reserved tips and use as garnish in the soup bowls.
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