1 pound fresh asparagus
2 onions, finely minced
2 potatoes, peeled, diced small
2 ribs celery, diced small, with tops included
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 teaspoons granulated chicken or vegetable
bouillon (or 8 cubes of bouillon)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 sprig fresh tarragon, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
Break off and discard the tough, thick end of each asparagus spear. Chop the spears into 1/4-inch slices and add to the crock pot along with all remaining ingredients down to and including the white pepper. Add water to within 1 inch of the top of the crock pot. Cover the crock pot and cook on HIGH for 6-7 hours.
About two hours before serving, use a slotted spoon to remove most of the vegetables to a blender. Use a ladle to add some of the liquid from the crock pot to the blender. Puree the mixture and add back in to the crock pot. Repeat once or twice more as necessary (you can leave some of the pieces in the crock pot for effect.)
Add approximately 1 cup of the half-and-half to the crock pot. Add the cornstarch to the remaining half-and-half in the carton. Close the carton well and shake vigorously. Add the mixture to the crock pot. Continue to cook on HIGH for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives sprinkled over the sour cream.