Roasted Asparagus Soup with Lemon Crme Fraiche

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Serves 6

Ingredients

   Soup:
 2 ½  pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut in half lengthwise
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
 ½  teaspoon ground coriander
 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
   Crème Fraiche:
 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
 ½  cup crème fraiche*

Procedure

 Soup:  Preheat oven to 425°F.  In a large bowl, combine asparagus, leeks, and oil; toss until vegetables are coated with the oil.  Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast vegetables until asparagus pieces are soft and leeks are golden, stirring occasionally, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how thick the asparagus is.  Cool on baking sheets.

 Put 1/2 of the vegetables into a blender and add 2 cups broth.  Blend until smooth.  Strain into a large saucepan.  Repeat. Warm soup over medium heat, thinning with more broth or water, if desired. Season with salt, pepper, and coriander.  The soup can be made a few days ahead and kept covered and refrigerated.

 In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and the crème fraiche.  Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle about a tablespoon of crème fraiche over each serving.

*To make crème fraiche:  Put one cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of buttermilk into a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid.  Cover; shake and let sit at room temperature until it is the consistency of sour cream, about 24 hours.  Refrigerate and keep for up to 2 weeks.