Asparagus soup with spring onions and bacon

(Jonathan Levitt for The Boston Globe)
May 11, 2011

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Serves 4

If you cannot find fresh spring onions (they look like scallions, but with large bulbs), use one sweet onion.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 pound bacon, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

1. In a soup pot over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the spring onions and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

2. Add the rice, chicken stock, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and stir well. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring several times, or until the rice is tender.

3. Meanwhile, snap off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus. Thinly slice spears about 1/8-inch thick on a diagonal.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, render the bacon, turning often, for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove the bacon from the pan. Wipe out the skillet.

5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. When it is hot, cook the asparagus, turning often, for 5 minutes or until it is tender but still bright green.

6. Add the bacon and asparagus to the soup. Bring it to a boil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh chives.

Jonathan Levitt