Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green Asparagus Velouté - Velouté d'Asperges Vertes

French people are known for making a potage (or soupe, the difference between the two words being less and less obvious) with any kind of vegetables... I actually grew up eating potage de légumes where "légumes" were potatoes, leeks, turnips, carots, celery, onions,  etc. and, if made by my grand-mother, some lettuce leaves as well (and I did not like lettuce in my soupe!)
I love soups so much that I actually don't mind having to make my own potage de légumes every week to use some fresh or in-the-bottom-of-the-fridge-forgotten vegetables. A scoop of crème fraiche and/or grated Swiss cheese plus nice homemade baguette, toasted pumpkin seeds and that's a full meal for me! Unfortunately, it's definitively not for my husband! Even if I add polenta croutons or small potatoes dices...
You see, my husband needs a "real" meal, and more precisely "un bon petit plat" as a main course. My friend C. and I had a good laugh talking about our respective French husbands who tend to think that a nice hearty soup, a quiche, socca, or even pasta don't qualify for "a real meal", even if everything has been made from scratch using fresh ingredients (and the occasional bacon!!) No matter how many hours we spend in the kitchen preparing daily meals, if no "petit plat", we know that our husbands will leave the table with some great disappointment despite a full stomach!  I don't know why this obsession with "bon petit plat" because, it's not like my mother-in-law, albeit a good cook, was cooking "des bons petits plats" every night for dinner when my husband was growing up! And it's not like any of my friends/relatives in France would cook "des bons petits plats" every night either! Once (or twice if you have guests) over the week-end is more the norm today!
What would qualify as a "bon petit plat" will you ask : boeuf bourguignonPotée Lorraineveau aux carottes would. Meat is obviously one key common denominator but poultry, let alone fish, don't qualify unless it's a choucroute de poissons (recipe to come one day).
The "bon petit plat" has become a joke in our family now... and having shared it with my husband's cousin last week-end, I know that C. and I are not the only one cooking most meals in our family and yet not being given full credit for it (maybe it's a men thing? Men with short memory when comes Thursday because they did have a bon petit plat over the week-end?) Do I care? No. I don't have the time or the desire to cook my husband's definition of "bons petits plats" more than once a week. Even if I had, I would not do it because it would not be healthy (it's not like my husband is burning 4,000 calories a day working in his lab!!)... And if I get more hints that it has been a while since we last had a "bon petit plat", I just remind him that, I have no, but absolutely no, ownership of quoique ce soit (laundry, cooking, financial planning, life organization, etc...) in our household and I ask him to go over the dishes he had over the last 7 days (because chances are he had one bon petit plat during that period!!)!
Obviously, this velouté d'asperges would never qualify as a "bon petit plat". Truth is that it has been very well accepted in our family, including by my children, as an....... appetizer.  How would you or your spouse call it? Bon Appétit!

- 1 bunch of green asparagus (about 1 pound), washed and cut
- 1 liter Vegetable (or chicken) stock
- A large potato, pealed and cut into small pieces
- Crème fraiche
- Olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste.

  • In a pot, saute the potato and asparagus pieces in olive oil until fully coated.
  • Add the vegetable/chicken stock.
  • Simmer until fully cooked (about 15-20 minutes)
  • Puree with an immersion blender
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve warm with a doll of crème fraiche.
My Personal Comments
  • Useless to say that I could have just a large bowl of this veloute for dinner!
  • I find that it works also well with frozen asparagus.


  1. Ha, it is definitely a male thing - not exclusive to the French! I feed my kids vegetarian soup twice a week and we (I) have moved to being meat free every second day . . it is still a struggle but I press on. Shocking as it may be every meal they have in school (and I do school lunches - no alternative really with my lifestyle) is meat or cheese based, so we really have to change the eating culture from the ground up! I found another great blog - Vegan Dad - which you probably already know. Best regards

  2. my hubby grumbles when meat isn't the centerpiece of the meal. unless i'm cooking chili beans, then he doesn't complain. i'm the only one that doesn't complain about soup for dinner, the kids only tolerate it because it's a vehicle for cheesy toast. by the way, I make your greens/potato soup all the time.

  3. I just wanted to tell you how much I love this blog. I have told everyone I know about it! That asparagus tarte changed our lives...and this soup looks so so good. That's all!

  4. Great post! I hope one of these days the men will come around to our way of thinking.

  5. Comment se passer d'un "bon petit plat " quotidien ? Volà une véritable source de discussion ,heureusement pleine d'humour, avec mon mari !! Il arrive même que nous ne mangions pas de viande ou de poisson pendant une journée mais heureusement il y a toujours du très bon fromage et de la baguette !!!!!!
    Merci pour cette bonne recette de soupe aux asperges si appétissante par ce froid trop précoce à Paris . Anne.

  6. I love this - I have never had asparagus in a soup! But I'm in the same boat - my husband wouldn't be heappy with veggie soup for dinner!