Spring Soup with Bread Dumplings

Serves 8 Cups
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Asparagus, Beans, Cheese, Chicken Broth, Mushrooms
Season Spring, Summer


  • 1/2 pound shelled fresh fava beans, or shelled fresh lima beans, or 1 2/3 cups thawed frozen, or a combo
  • 3 leeks (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/2 pound small white mushrooms
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen green peas


1 If using fava beans, bring 1 quart salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shelled fava beans and blanch for 1 minute; immediately transfer them with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and water to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, gently peel the skins from the beans.
2 Trim off and discard the green part of the leeks, leaving about 5 inches.
3 Cut the white parts in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups); rinse them well and pat them dry.
4 Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the leeks and cook 5 minutes or until they have softened.
5 Meanwhile, bring the broth to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Trim the asparagus. Peel the stems if they are thicker than 1/3-inch; slice the asparagus crosswise into 1-inch lengths (about 1 1/3 cups). Clean, trim, and quarter the mushrooms (about 2 2/3 cups).
6 Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the leeks and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until almost tender. Microplane-grate the cheese (about 1 1/3 cups) or grate on the fine side of a metal grater (about 2/3 cup).
7 Add the leek mixture to the chicken broth along with the favas and peas. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, add the dumplings and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are cooked through. Stir in the cheese and serve.
8 Bread Dumplings: Beat 2 large eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Stir in 2 cups fresh white or whole wheat bread crumbs, 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 1 1/3 cup microplane grated or 2/3 cup grated on the fine side of a metal grater), and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves. Roll into 12 balls. Cook in soup as directed above.