Dienstag, 30. April 2013

Asparagus cream stew

Nearby the farmers sell each day "this mornings harvest of asparagus" - super fresh, because I live in an asparagus area. It is called "Deutsche Spargelstraße", the german asparagus street which is leading to all the villages with asparagus farmers (some sort of a tourist attraction). So what we do around here is to eat asparagus - as much as possible - until the short season ends. Asparagus is still a little expensive, this years season started later due to the very long winter, but prices are dropping daily.
Today I bought 750 g 3rd grade Asparagus: the stems are a little too slender, shorter and not as straight as the 1# grade ones. Best thing to do is to make a stew, because therefore stems are cut into pieces. The asparagus will taste as good as the 1rst grade, anyhow it is the look which makes the grade. This is some kind of stew my grandmother and mother used to made (the family of my grandmother owned an asparagus farm in Schwetzingen/Southern Germany) so I think it is a southern german recipe:

Asparagus cream stew with meat balls

First I peeled the stems and cut off the ends and the heads and set them aside separately.  I cut the stems into 3-4 pieces and washed the peels and asparagus ends in running water .

I cooked the peels and ends in 600 ml water just for 2 minutes and strained the water into a bowl (don't boil longer or it will taste bad). Then I boiled the cooking water up again with a good pinch salt and a good pinch sugar  and the asparagus stems added. This has to simmer just for a few minutes. The pieces should stay firm. I added the heads and simmered for 2 more minutes. Afterwards I scooped out the vegetable and set it aside.
I made the meat balls mixing:
  • 1 small shallot cut into very tiny dices and steamed with a teaspoon butter in the microwave until translucent (45 sec.)
  •  250 g ground pork/veal
  • 1 slice baguette soaked in water, squeezed and finely crumbled
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 good pinch salt
  • pinch freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
  • pinch sweet chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
 and formed small balls (walnut size).
I dropped the balls into the hot asparagus cooking water with a little bit more salt and simmered for 10 more minutes (lower temperature). Afterwards I scooped out the meat balls, set them aside covered with a plate. I sieved the cooking liquid through a fine mashed metal strainer and measured the cooking liquid: 400 ml and added 400 ml milk.

Now I heated up 1 good heaped tablespoon butter in a larger pot until sizzling hot and melted. I added 1 tablespoon wheat flour and whisked it well (while still cooking) until the flour became white and foaming and a scent reminding on cookies emerged. Quickly I added the milk-liquid mix (600 ml) in a small flow  and whisked until everything was smooth and runny. This I let simmer for 15 minutes without a lid. During this time I added about 100 ml liquid again - depending on the grade of thickness of the cream sauce not too thick not too thin.

At the end I seasoned with:
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (fresh harvest from a new plant I planted)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest  (about 1/2 lemon)
  • freshly ground pepper (some say use white pepper for white sauces but white white pepper tastes *yuk*)
  • a little bit more sugar
  • a few drops Worcester sauce
  • salt 
and added the meat balls and the Asparagus. This should be reheated a little and done with it. Goes nice with rice or young potatoes and some squeezes lemon juice.


Sissi hat gesagt…

I haven't had the white asparagus this year yet, only green. The stew looks very unusual but delicious (your South-German potato salad is a real star, so if this comes from the same region... moreover from the same blogger ;-) ) . Perfect for our rainy last weekend...

Hiroyuki hat gesagt…

The Asparagus Route is quite interesting. I guess people are the same everywhere, trying to create a tourist attraction from what they have on hand.

In Japan, white asparagus is not very popular. It is more popular than green asparagus in Germany?

White asparagus reminds me of my father, who liked canned white asparagus. I hated it for its soft texture.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

Hiroyuki: Here it is comletely different. Only the white asparagus is the real thing. Green is good too but people adore the white. Green is much less expensive. Most of the time white asaragus is just peeled and boiled to a certain firmness (not too soft) and eaten with melted butter (for the purists) or sauce hollandaise. Sides are some sort of katsu (Schnitzel) veal or pork or slices of ham. Latest recipe craze is all about stirfried caramelized asparagus, asparagus baked in paper parcels, asparagus mousse with smoked fish and so on. Canned asparagus is dead asparagus, tastes awful and the texture is even worse. An cooked whole asparagus tip / stem while laying over a fork should not bend - canned asparagus misses this.

Fräulein Trude hat gesagt…

my "p" key is somehow not working well - sorry for the bad type writing.