Pear Soup with Pancetta and Blue Cheese

September 15, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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
In This Recipe
  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.
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I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.