Pear Soup with Pancetta and Blue Cheese

By • September 15, 2011 • 52 Comments

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Author Notes: One more, because I just couldn't help myself! Seeing all the lovely soups people were posting with pear and cauliflower, pear and butternut squash, etc. I started to wonder what a savory soup that was really pretty much just pear soup would be like. So, I decided to give it a try. I did add just a small amount of potato, to keep it from being too thin, a little bit of carrot to give it better color, but the bulk of it is pear.
The flavor of the pear is delicate, almost haunting, and leaves you going "what on earth is in this?" until the pear-ness of it asserts itself at the very end. Then, because I love pears with pancetta and blue cheese, I decided to throw a bit of those on top. Wow! They really made the soup, especially the blue cheese.
This is also a soup that tastes a little bit better each time you rewarm it.
One thing to note, because the pear flavor is so delicate, you want to use a stock that is fairly mild flavored, so if your chicken stock is super potent for example, you may want to cut it with a little bit of water.
fiveandspice

Serves 4-6

  • 5 ounces pancetta, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (around 1/2 inch)
  • 1 medium-small carrot, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 5 pears - I used bartlett - peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups mildly flavored vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • crumbled blue cheese (a creamy, potent raw milk one is best, if you can get it) for serving
  • salt and ground white pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, fry the pancetta bits until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.
  2. Pour off all but one Tablespoon of the fat in the pot (you don't want to use all of it because then it will overpower the pear), and add in the butter. Heat over medium until foaming. Then, stir in the onion, turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft. You basically want the onion to sweat and soften without browning.
  3. Stir in the garlic, potato, and carrot, cover again. Turn the heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes. Then, add in the maple syrup, pear, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, thyme, sage and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes to get the pear all coated with the syrup and other flavors.
  4. Add in the broth, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes and pears are soft, about 15 minutes.
  5. Blend in batches until smooth. Then return the blended soup to the pot and stir in the creme fraiche. Taste and add salt and white pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with the pancetta bits and blue cheese for sprinkling on top.
Jump to Comments (52)

Comments (52) Questions (1)

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7 months ago Yvette beebe

Yvette
Had this wonderful soup at a brewery in Michigan and went home to try it myself. My husband and I love it. I forgot to add the creme fraiche, but it was still absulotely perfect.

Sausage2

7 months ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad to hear it!

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9 months ago NANCY

i JUST MADE THIS SOUP THIS WEEKEND WOW ITS GREAT...NOT ONE FLAVOR JUMPS OUT AND OVER POWERS THE OTHERS.. tHIS IS A KEEPER

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almost 2 years ago Kevynn

This sounds wonderful and can't wait to try it as we love soup. I am a vegetarian, cheese is fine, and would like to know what to substitute for the bacon to give it that depth of flavor.
Thank you for any suggestions you can give.

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almost 2 years ago lexilarkin

wow this was sooo awesome as a starter for Thanksgiving last year! Everyone was impressed and I am looking forward to making it again this year. Thank you for sharing your creative recipe with me.

Sausage2

almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank YOU for trying it!

Headshot2009

about 2 years ago abbyarnold

I haven't tried to freeze it, but it is good for a few days in the fridge. Just add the bacon garnish and the cheese after you re-heat it. I want to add this hint---Whole Foods has a Black Forest Bacon that is as good as pancetta in this soup. I also get the blue cheese at Whole Foods. They have one I think is called Point Reyes blue cheese that is fabulous.

Cakes

about 2 years ago Bevi

Point Reyes IS fabulous. I used a Maytag. Next time I make the soup I am trying some Vermont maple cured bacon. You are lucky to have a WFM near you!

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Bevi! I've actually never frozen the soup either. I've never made enough for it to last. But, I do imagine it would freeze pretty well (without pancetta/bacon and cheese of course), if then defrosted and gently reheated. I have definitely found that I think the flavors are even better after a day or two in the fridge. Also, abby, Black Forest bacon sounds heavenly!

Cakes

about 2 years ago Bevi

Well I made it for the two of us, but now I may have to take some to my neighbor. I thought maybe in the future I'll make the soup and try freezing it. It seems like a great soup for shots at Thanksgiving.

Cakes

about 2 years ago Bevi

I made this soup today and loved it. Have you tried to freeze it with good results?

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about 2 years ago JoyP

I just made this soup yesterday. We have a pear tree in the yard and I never know what to do with all the pears that we harvest, other than giving them away. I now have a new use and hope I can keep some pears viable until Thanksgiving to try on the kids. Thanks!

Sausage2

about 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Fantastic!

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almost 3 years ago Doraine Couillard

Had this soup for lunch at my friend's place today (she is a professional chef) and couldn't believe how wonderful it is! It was almost embarrassing ... the moaning as each velvety spoonful went down! Not sure I can reproduce it to look like what 'the chef' produced but will give it a try. This may become my new addiction! I'm a soup lover and soup maker and this one moves to the top of the favs!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh wow! I'm thrilled you liked it so much! And you know, I bet you'll be able to make it look chef like, just give it a shot!

Caramels_3

almost 3 years ago sweetlolo

I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit. Such a beautiful balance of flavors.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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almost 3 years ago Sally Anne

I had the same experience as Minnesotapix. And when served, it did stop time for a moment. We had toasted hazelnuts we were going to use for something else and tossed them on top, too. Absolutely in our Thanksgiving's greatest hits pile.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you Sally Anne. That's so great to hear! And, I really love the hazelnut addition!

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almost 3 years ago Minnesotapix

I made this for the "opener" of our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. At nearly every step of making this, I was saying to myself, "uh oh, I don't think this is working, probably not going to serve this" (I had made it a day ahead). But at the very end, adding in the creme fraiche, and topping with the pancetta and blue cheese - oh man - it all came together. The layering of flavors was incredible, and seriously - choirs of angels were singing! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wow! Choirs of angels! I'm so incredibly flattered! Really happy you enjoyed it!

Dscf1449

almost 3 years ago KateSmith

I made this soup tonight and it was DELICIOUS!!! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I'm definitely keeping this one in the rotation.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Kate! I'm thrilled you liked it!

Headshot2009

almost 3 years ago abbyarnold

Oh the challenging life of a freelancer---a big check for the work I did in September won't arrive until Tueday, so I can't buy any ingredients. I had 4 pears, onions, potatoes and garlic, but no carrots. I did, however, have a persimmon, which is a similar color. No pancetta or other tasty meat, so I caramelized the onions for more flavor. I omitted the sage, and substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche. No bleu cheese so I topped it with some herb-covered goat cheese disks that I cut from a log.

Needless to say, the pear soup tastest delicious and made me forget, for a moment, that all my checks are bouncing until Tuesday.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh dear, that does sound like the rough life! :) I'm glad you found such delicious substitutions to use, though!

Chris_in_oslo

almost 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I love your spirit, and your soup sounds like it was great! I especially like "I did, however, have a persimmon, which is a similar color." Good job.

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almost 3 years ago Chef Tammy

I just made this soup for a catering/cooking class event I did, titled "When Pigs Fly" - the entire class was centered around the pig and this soup was a fantastic addition. Everyone raved about it!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's so cool! And, I love that name for a cooking class! I want to take it!

Pamelalee

almost 3 years ago pamelalee

I've been wanting to make this soup for a couple weeks and finaly got around to it this afternoon. It was as delicious as I had expected! Pancetta (or bacon as I used) and blue cheese were perfect garnishes.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks pamelalee!

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almost 3 years ago Chez Mia

Fabulous! Used vegetable broth and Gorgonzola. Wonderful with a salad, crusty bread and vino!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sounds wonderful! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know!

Chris_in_oslo

almost 3 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

I made this last night, and it was a big hit--lots of questions about the potato-pear ratio, as the flavor was so nice. I used Warren pears and Crater Lake blue.

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh, how lovely!

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almost 3 years ago eternalgradstudent

This is a keeper!!

Sausage2

almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yay! Thanks! I'm glad you like it.

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about 3 years ago emc2

So good and different. I really, really enjoyed this soup!

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you! I'm so happy that you liked it! And, thanks for letting me know. :)

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this tonight for dinner and it was just delicious!! Really loved it and am already looking forward to lunch tomorrow :-) Such a wonderful fall dinner with a veggie gratin. Now if our temperatures would get below 85F, I'd be happy. You're going into fall, and we're going into our summer here in SF.

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh that's so great to hear! Glad you loved it. I had no idea that SF got so hot in the fall. That's crazy! Anyhow, thanks for letting me know, and I also wanted to let you know, we got our first delicata squash this week, and it went straight to making your crispy squash rings. :)

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about 3 years ago Rivertree kitchen

I love the idea of letting the pears shine. The gorgonzola sounds perfect to me, but my guys are blue-cheese-phobic. Do you think a bit of good sharp white cheddar would also work?

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh yes! I bet it would be delicious with some good white cheddar. Any cheese that's rich and salty that goes with the sweetness of pears.

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about 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

This hits my palate! I make something similiar but instead of pears, parsnips. Saved!

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks SLChopx! You know, I thought about using a little parsnip in the soup, instead of potatoes, but there was absolutely none to be found, yet!

Dscn3274

about 3 years ago inpatskitchen

This looks and sounds wonderful!! Thanks for sharing!

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks inpatskitchen!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

What a lovely combination of flavors, fiveandspice! I am saving this to try when it gets cooler around here (usually by November).

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you gingerroot! You know it never occurred to me that the general lack of cold weather in Hawaii makes soup season a lot shorter! Glad to hear it cools off at least a little mid-winter. (I suppose many people wouldn't be glad about that, but I'm a northerner, through and through! :)

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I think I'm going to have to make this tomorrow night. I love soups anytime of year, but especially now, and I have never made a pear soup! Thanks so much for posting this!

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

If you do, please let me know what you think ChezSuzanne. It's an unusual soup, but I really enjoyed it!

Cakes

about 3 years ago Bevi

Saved, and lovely, beautiful soup!

Sausage2

about 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you so much Bevi!