A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup

Jonathan Townsend

Posted on September 28 2017

A Fanciful Yet Easy Asparagus Soup

This delicious Asparagus Soup recipe from Elizabeth Cleland’s A new and easy methods of cookery (1755).

recipe asparagus soup

Many of this recipe’s techniques, including roux, food coloring, bone broth, and court-bouillon (the ingredients boiled in the soup that are removed before eating) might be considered quite refined today.  However, in the 18th century these procedures were fairly common ways of enhancing flavor, color, and texture.  If you give them a try you’ll notice they are quite easy.  This recipe, being simple to make and extraordinarily delicious, makes you wonder why Americans don’t still cook today like they did in the 18th century.

Jon uses a bone broth that he discusses in a previous video:

The recipe for this is also from Cleland’s book:


Asparagus Soup


  • 4-5 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Jelly Bag (which you can find on the Jas Townsend and Son Store)
  • 1 quart of bone broth
  • 15-20 asparagus stalks chopped in 1/2 inch segments
  • 1 onion
  • about 6 cloves (stuck in the onion)
  • 1/3 teaspoon of mace
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed black pepper
  • 1 large pinch of allspice
  • a small bunch sweet herbs
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1/2 cup of flour


For the Roux

Set the butter in a small pan over a low flame.

After the butter melts but before it begins to brown add the flour, making sure the ingredients are evenly spread.

Cook this mixture until it is a nutty brown color.


Use immediately or preserve it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

For the spinach coloring

With a mortar and pestle (or blender) mash the spinach with a little bit of water.


Strain the mixture through the Jelly bag, squeezing out as much of the colored liquid as possible.


Use the coloring immediately or preserve in the fridge for 1 week.

For the Soup

Add the spinach “green” to the broth.

In a large pot, bring the liquid to a boil.

Add the asparagus, onion, spices, herbs, and salt to the pot.



Boil the pot until the asparagus is cooked, but not soggy (approximately 5 minutes).

Add the roux.


Again bring the mixture to boil, stirring regularly.

When the roux is dissolved immediately remove the pot from the heat.

Strain out the sweet sweet herbs, onion, and clove.

Garnish with some herbs and spinach “green”.


I like to eat soups like this with a slice of rustic wheat bread, and I know Jon enjoys Ships Crackers.  What hardy addition would you toss into this soup?

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