Dinner is probably the most common time to eat asparagus and it always goes well as a side dish – lightly steamed, roasted, sautéed, grilled, topped with butter, olive oil, sea salt, hollandaise sauce or cheese – even pickled or raw and tossed in a salad – I’m not sure you can go wrong with fresh asparagus. Last week I shared a recipe for using asparagus at breakfast and today I am going to share with you another way I cooked our freshly picked asparagus this week.
Asparagus – Split Pea Soup
If you already have favorite recipe for split pea soup by all means use it – just cut up a big bunch of asparagus and add it to the pot as the soup cooks. If you don’t have a recipe for pea soup here is how I made it. Disclaimer: I usually don’t use exact measures when cooking – I am a pinch of this, shake of that, taste as you go along type of cook.
1 bag of dried split peas
a good size bunch of asparagus
5 or more carrots
1 pound of beef smoked sausage
several cloves of fresh minced garlic or two about teaspoons of garlic powder.
about 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
add salt later if needed – the smoked sausage will add some salt and you don’t want to get to much
I always soak the peas in water over night. The next morning I drain the peas and put them in the crockpot. Add enough water to just cover the peas. I then cut up the asparagus, carrots, onion, and sausage and put them in the crockpot. I add the garlic and black pepper and put the lid on. I start it out on high for at least an hour to build up the heat. Then I turn it to low and let it cook. After a few more hours I check to see if the peas have become mushy. (At this point you can also taste it to see if it needs more salt or pepper and add them as needed.) If the peas are still hard I put the lid on tightly and turn it back up to high for another hour or so. Once peas have become mushy I leave the lid partially covering the pot so any excess water can cook off and the soup will thicken. If at any point the soup is too think just add some more water. When the soup is the desired consistency dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!!! 🙂
I almost forgot – the first time I made this I put it all in a cast iron Dutch oven and cooked over an open fire at the farm. It does make a nice campfire dinner.
The chicks, at four weeks old, were quickly out growing their stage two brooder so we began transitioning them to the chicken yard.
The gradual transition serves several purposes. It allows the older birds to get used to the young ones; it allows the chicks to become familiar with their new environment; and they have the warmth provided by the heat lamp in the stage two brooder while the nights are still cold.
We set up a temporary enclosure within the chicken yard, near the coop. We use 4 t-posts and about 30 feet of 2 foot tall chicken wire. We also place netting over the top to deter overhead predators.
The spot offers both shade and sufficient sunshine, at least this time of year before the trees get their leaves. The wooden box provides shelter if they need it and the crate is used to transport the chicks to and fro.
Each day for about a week the chicks were taken out to this play yard to spend their day pecking and scratching and doing what chickens do, and each night they return to their stage two brooder.
After a few days we began letting them out of their enclosure when we were in the area. They love this freedom and it is so funny to watch them run at full (chick) speed with wings flapping or crane their neck and jump to catch a bug in mid air.
Last week, when the chicks were about 5 weeks old and nicely feathered out, they began spending their nights in the coop. They have yet to find their way into the coop at night. Instead they find their way to the crate then we put them in the coop. We will begin training them to go in on their own soon.
We have left the outside enclosure up for now and make sure the chicks are inside when we are not around. When we are there we allow them to free range, but they have yet to venture far outside the chicken yard.
Once the buds on the hickory trees become leaves we will take down the enclosure because the leaves in the densely treed area will provide a canopy to help hide the chicks from the view of over head predators.
We really are enjoying raising this batch of Buff Orpington and Black Austrolorp chicks. They are very friendly and I would recommend these breeds for anyone considering raising chickens.
Thnaks for visiting. 🙂
In my last post about asparagus season I asked if anyone had any great recipes for asparagus I didn’t get too many replies to this question so I thought I would share some of the ways that we eat asparagus this spring.
This morning when my husband went to open up the chicken coop I asked him to go to the garden and cut the asparagus that was ready. I knew there were at least a few shoots that were the right size. He came back with four or five shoots and that was just the right amount for what I had planned.
Now when I think breakfast I usually don’t think vegetables. I’m sure it’s because of the way I was raised and perhaps even a cultural thing but veggies are usually eaten later in the day. The exception is when I make an omelet.
My recipe this morning included –
3 Eggs (farm fresh)
4 shoots of Asparagus
1 pre-cooked Sausage Patty – (This was left over from yesterdays breakfast)
Asiago and Swiss Cheese
I started by putting a little oil in the pan and lightly cooking the asparagus. I beat the eggs then added them to the pan and covered it and let it cook a little while I cut the sausage into small pieces. I then added the sausage and covered it again and let it cook on low. I cut some asiago cheese and tore a slice of Swiss cheese into a few pieces. Once the egg looked mostly cooked (no more runny stuff) I placed the cheese pieces on top and covered it to let the cheese melt. I am really am not good at folding an omelet and making it look good so I usually just leave it open.
My husband wanted his to go so I made it into a sandwich.
As I pulled the straw mulch off the asparagus plants yesterday I discovered a few of the plants had new shoots starting to poke their heads out of the ground. This post is specifically for those in Michigan or a similar growing zone (we are 6b). If you are growing your own asparagus or hunt for wild asparagus – it’s “game on”. What’s the game? The trick to harvesting asparagus is getting it when it is just the right size – between six and nine inches is usually good, but since under ideal growing conditions asparagus can grow 1/2 inch an hour the field, or plants, might need to be harvested twice a day for maximum yield. I expect we will begin harvesting within a few days and if all goes well we should be able to continue for at least 4-6 weeks.
I found it interesting when I looked at my blog from 2017 I wrote a similar post on April 25, 2017, about one week earlier than this year.
If you would like to learn a little more about asparagus check out this link – http://www.michiganasparagus.org/interesting-tips/ . Also I find the best way to store fresh asparagus is to put the cut ends in water (in a cup or jar) then cover the tops with a plastic bag and refrigerate them.
Do you have any great recipes for asparagus? I’m sure we will be eating lots of it soon.
Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Spring!