Old-fashioned Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Bowl of Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Sometimes I think of soup as a winter dish, but I’m discovering that there are also some wonderful soups that feature Spring vegetables. I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup. Chicken and asparagus tips are embedded in a delightful light asparagus-flavored broth that has a very nuanced peppery taste.

The Asparagus and Chicken Soup seemed very modern (and I never would have guessed that the recipe was a hundred years old if I hadn’t known that I’d found it in a 1920 magazine). It reminded me a bit of some of the lovely chicken miso soups that I’ve eaten in Asian restaurants.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup
Source: American Cookery (May, 1920)

The recipe called for three teaspoons of salt, which seemed like a lot, so I only used one teaspoon of it. I didn’t serve the soup with croutons or Royal Custard, and must admit that I didn’t even know what Royal Custard was until I googled it, and discovered that, according to The Spruce Eats, Royale Custard (Eierstich) is an egg custard and a popular soup garnish in Germany. It sounds lovely, and if I make this soup again, I may have to also make some Royale Custard.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus and Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

6 cups water

2 pounds chicken parts (I used boneless chicken breast.)

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Put water and chicken in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

In the meantime, cut the tips off the asparagus stalks and set aside. Cut the reminder of the stalks into 1-inch pieces. After the 2 hours, add the asparagus pieces to the water and chicken, and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour. Remove from heat, and remove the chicken. Cut and shred the chicken into small pieces. Strain the liquid and asparagus pieces.

Put the cooked asparagus pieces through a sieve to extract the juice and puree the asparagus. (A ricer or Foley mill can be used.)

Return broth, shredded chicken, and asparagus puree to the saucepan or Dutch oven, then add the salt, pepper, and celery salt. Heat until hot, then add asparagus tips, cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the asparagus tips are tender, then serve.


38 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Asparagus and Chicken Soup

  1. I enjoyed reading both versions of this spring soup recipe, Sheryl. It reminded me of my grandfather on his rural postal route bringing us asparagus he found growing in wild patches in the country. I always enjoy reading the authentic versions of the old recipes you find, this one written in narrative style. Much enjoyed.

    1. Your description of your grandfather bringing wild asparagus home reminded me of gathering asparagus that was growing in fence rows with my mother and brother when I was a child.

  2. I love the combination, though I have never had it is soup. I do remember cream of asparagus soup as a kid. I wonder if it is still made.

    1. hmm. . . I don’t know whether cream of asparagus is still made. I’ll have to look the next time I’m at the grocery store.

  3. Lovely picture and this does sound very pleasing for any season! And, very healthy. I remember my Mississippi grandmother frequently making vegetable soup in the hot summer time. Her son-in-law, my father, loved her soup with all the fresh vegetables from her garden. I would love a bowl of that soup right now. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe soon!

    1. Your grandmother’s soup sounds wonderful. Dishes made with vegetables fresh from the garden are the best. I think that you’ll like this recipe.

  4. Soup!πŸ‘ definitely a wonderful spring dish! I’ve seen wild asparagus along the road in ditches. Often wondered how it got there….

    1. Hmm . . . I’ve never thought about how wild asparagus ended up in ditches and fence rows. I guess I assumed that it just happened to grow there – like dandelion or weeds; but maybe people planted it there years ago.

  5. I am definitely making that. I just picked up some fresh and tender asparagus. I can (and do) eat soup all year round. In my last farm box delivery of dandelion greens and I made a really nice soup from that. In my last post, I shared what I made with some wild ramps; they would be delicious in a soup as well.

  6. It does sound good. Asparagus season just ended here, but it’s usually available in the stores all year long. I may try it. Is the chicken still flavorful after boiling for 2 hours?

    1. Yes, the chicken was good. The reminded me of the chicken in the noodle soup my mother made when I was a child. It is very tender and moist. (Moist might not be the right word to use when describing chicken in a soup – but some of the soup liquid almost seemed like it was embedded in the chicken pieces creating a nice flavor and texture.)

    1. When I was this recipe I was surprised just how modern the resulting soup seemed. I was hoping that there might be a reader who was familiar with royal custard, but apparently no one has heard of it.

  7. My husband loves soup all year and I am an okay soup person. Asparagus and chicken is something I love. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Sheryl.

  8. Oh yes!!!! Yesterday I picked half a grocery bag full of asparagus from my garden. I get so much asparagus and eat every bit of it! Thank you for a new way to fix it.

    1. Wow – you are so lucky to have asparagus in your garden. I tried to raise some a few years ago, but it died out after a year or two.

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