A bright, zesty, dish full of Spring flavours and a perfect midweek meal
It’s Spring and this chicken, peas and asparagus broth is just the ticket.
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOKING TIME: 35 – 40 mins
IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, family
You know winter has passed and spring has arrived when you see asparagus in the shops.
They’re represent a change of season.
And for me, this rather labour-intensive vegetable, has a lot more meaning.
As I had a 2-week crash course on growing, picking, and packing asparagus in Australia.
… AKA me.
It was a long time ago now but the memory of Jugion, NSW, remains strong and vivid.
I was desperately skint in Cairns and found a notice for work on an asparagus farm.
So, I set off.
It was only 50 hours by bus. Ouch.
I can’t think of a better way to describe this farm and the accommodation.
But something like, horrific comes to mind.
We were given a plate and cup each in the mess tent and were told by a very scary Aussie woman, that if we lost them, we’d starve as they wouldn’t replace them.
After our first supper clinging onto our plates and cups for dear life.
We were shown our shared accommodation.
These were container boxes (literally made of thing wood), with bunks inside.
And, we discovered, later on, Red Back spiders.
The asparagus factory
This was where we spent our working day.
I was relieved once I realised the back-breaking work of picking these little green gems from the dirt.
My job was on the factory line and my very specific job was to put the asparagus into bunches.
Then hand it to my colleague who would put a rubber band around it.
And they would hand it to someone to place neatly in a box.
Now this seems basic. And it is.
However, the asparagus comes flying at you from a conveyor belt above.
And walking around patrolling, is more terrifying Aussies, shouting at us to hurry up.
Needless to say, we didn’t last terribly long at this asparagus farm.
And quit 2 weeks later to take our small earnings and get to Sydney.
Where we lived in a hostel and started some more backpacking jobs.
The best thing about our asparagus adventure.
I met some of my best, lifelong friends there.
And we all escaped it together and looked after one another in Sydney.
It’s now 20 years down the line and we’re all still great friends.
With an asparagus bond.
So, asparagus tastes very sweet to me.
Because it’s hands-down the taste of Spring.
And because it holds a lot of history for me.
Chicken, peas, and asparagus broth
This is a wonderfully simple dish from Delicious Magazine.
Poached chicken with spring asparagus and peas is a winner.
But there are a few tips and tricks to buying, prepping, storing, and even other ways to eat asparagus.
How to prepare asparagus
Asparagus just needs a wash.
For larger asparagus (which will also have more flavour), bend the spear until it snaps and throw the woody end away.
How to cook asparagus
- Boil (for 3-5 mins) or steam (4-5 mins, depending on size) then serve with hollandaise sauce or hot melted butter.
- Brush with oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and roast (for 15 mins) or grill (5 mins), then serve with parmesan shavings and a spritz of lemon juice, or wrap with strips of prosciutto.
How to store asparagus
- Wrap in damp kitchen paper, and keep in the salad drawer of the fridge.
- You can also store it in a glass or jug of cold water in the fridge.
Chicken, peas and asparagus broth
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 free-range chicken breasts
- 350 g new potatoes, sliced 1 -2 cm thick
- 120 ml white wine
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 200 g defrosted frozen peas
- 200 g asparagus
- 1 lemon zested and a squeeze of juice
- In a deep dish with a lid, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Season the chicken and add to the pan and cook for 2 – 3 mins each side until browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Add a little more oil and add the sliced potatoes and fry for 5 mins, then ad the wine and cook until it's reduced by half. Now, pour the chicken stock in and bring it a simmer.Place the chicken back in (the stock should cover them), place the lid on and simmer for 5 mins.
- Prep the asparagus (snap off the woody parts, keeping the softer tips). Stir in the asparagus tips and peas into the broth, cover and simmer for approx. 3 – 4 mins or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Season the broth with plenty of black pepper, and finish with the zest of the lemon and a squeeze of juice.