Combine asparagus, broth, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, bay leaf, and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Place asparagus mixture in a blender; process until smooth.
Place flour in pan. Gradually add the milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Add puréed asparagus and ground nutmeg; stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 teaspoon thyme, butter, salt, and lemon rind.
Cream of Carrot Soup: Substitute 2 cups baby carrots for asparagus. Omit bay leaf. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup).
CALORIES 112 (28% from fat); FAT 3.5g (sat 2g, mono 0.8g, poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 6.7g; CARB 13.4g; FIBER 1.1g; CHOL 13mg; IRON 0.6mg; SODIUM 765mg; CALC 152mg
Cream of Leek Soup: Substitute 3 cups sliced leek for asparagus. Substitute 3/4 teaspoon rosemary for thyme. Omit bay leaf.
CALORIES 131 (23% from fat); FAT 3.4g (sat 2g, mono 0.8g, poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 7.3g; CARB 18.3g; FIBER 1.3g; CHOL 13mg; IRON 1.5mg; SODIUM 759mg; CALC 178mg