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Asparagus Soup

450 g/1 lb young Asparagus
40g/1 1/2oz/3 tbsp Butter
6 Shallots, sliced
15 g/ l/2oz/ 1 tbsp plain Flour
600 ml/ 1 pint/2 1/2cups Vegetable stock or water
15 ml/ 1 tbsp lemon juice
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup milk
120 ml/4 fl oz/l/2cup single Cream
10 ml/2 tsp chopped fresh Chervil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Serves: 4
Cut 4 cm/ 1 1/2 in off the tops of half the asparagus and set aside for a garnish. Slice the remaining asparagus.
Melt 25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp of the butter in a large saucepan and fry the sliced shallots for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add the asparagus and fry over low heat for about 1 minute.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock or water and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, half cover the pan, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the asparagus is very tender.
Cool slightly and then process the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Press the pureed asparagus through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Add the milk by pouring and stirring it through the sieve with the asparagus so as to extract the maximum amount of asparagus puree.
Melt the remaining butter and 6 fry the reserved asparagus tips gently for 3-4 minutes to soften.
Heat the soup gently for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cream and the asparagus tips. Continue to heat gently and serve sprinkled with chopped fresh chervil.
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