For all its simplicity this is bold asparagus and rice soup. It’s a real mouthful of flavor and texture. There are but a few ingredients, so each step is important.
- 5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 large onion (peeled and diced)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
- ¼ cup long grain white rice
- 4 cup chicken stock
- 4–5 slice thick cut bacon (well chopped)
- 1 bunch asparagus (ends trimmed; stalks and tips sliced into 1/8‑inch thick rounds)
- freshly cracked black pepper (use lots)
- lemon wedges (to taste)
Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil into a medium saucepan with a lid set over medium heat. Add the onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until tender and translucent but not yet beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil then let the rice sit for a minute so it toasts slightly and absorbs some of the flavors. Pour in the stock and raise the heat to high. Once the stock begins to boil reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is just tender. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove
Meanwhile, on a separate burner pour the remaining 2 tablespoons oil into a 12-inch skillet set over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the bacon begins to crisp. Add the asparagus slices and all the little crumbly bits to the skillet and stir to coat with fat. Spread the asparagus mixture out to cover the bottom of the pan then allow it to cook, undisturbed until the asparagus begins to sizzle, about 4 minutes. Stir and let cook undisturbed until crisp at the edges and tender inside. Allow a bit more cooking if necessary. Don’t worry if the asparagus cooks a bit unevenly this will improve the variety of textures of the soup. Turn off the heat under the skillet.
Bring the onion and stock mixture to a boil, then turn off the heat and scrape the bacon mixture into the stock. Add lots of black pepper and season with salt to taste.
Serve immediately with more black pepper and lemon wedges on the side.