Pear Soup with Pancetta and Blue Cheese

September 15, 2011
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4-6
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.
Contest Entries

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  • abbyarnold
  • Bevi
  • sweetlolo
  • KateSmith
  • pamelalee

52 Reviews

Yvette B. April 4, 2014
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.
fiveandspice April 8, 2014
Glad to hear it!
NANCY January 20, 2014
Kevynn November 6, 2012
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.
lexilarkin November 1, 2012
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.
fiveandspice November 1, 2012
Thank YOU for trying it!
abbyarnold October 31, 2012
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.
Bevi October 31, 2012
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!
fiveandspice October 31, 2012
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!
Bevi October 31, 2012
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.
Bevi October 31, 2012
I made this soup today and loved it. Have you tried to freeze it with good results?
JoyP October 29, 2012
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!
fiveandspice October 31, 2012
Doraine C. November 30, 2011
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!
fiveandspice November 30, 2011
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!
sweetlolo November 29, 2011
I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit. Such a beautiful balance of flavors.
fiveandspice November 30, 2011
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Sally A. November 28, 2011
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.
fiveandspice November 28, 2011
Thank you Sally Anne. That's so great to hear! And, I really love the hazelnut addition!
Minnesotapix November 25, 2011
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!
fiveandspice November 28, 2011
Wow! Choirs of angels! I'm so incredibly flattered! Really happy you enjoyed it!
KateSmith November 19, 2011
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.
fiveandspice November 20, 2011
Thanks Kate! I'm thrilled you liked it!
abbyarnold November 19, 2011
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.
fiveandspice November 20, 2011
Oh dear, that does sound like the rough life! :) I'm glad you found such delicious substitutions to use, though!
Greenstuff November 20, 2011
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.
Chef T. November 13, 2011
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!
fiveandspice November 13, 2011
That's so cool! And, I love that name for a cooking class! I want to take it!
pamelalee November 13, 2011
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.
fiveandspice November 13, 2011
Thanks pamelalee!
Chez M. November 11, 2011
Fabulous! Used vegetable broth and Gorgonzola. Wonderful with a salad, crusty bread and vino!
fiveandspice November 12, 2011
Sounds wonderful! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know!
Greenstuff November 10, 2011
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.
fiveandspice November 12, 2011
Oh, how lovely!
eternalgradstudent November 9, 2011
This is a keeper!!
fiveandspice November 10, 2011
Yay! Thanks! I'm glad you like it.
emc2 September 30, 2011
So good and different. I really, really enjoyed this soup!
fiveandspice September 30, 2011
Thank you! I'm so happy that you liked it! And, thanks for letting me know. :)
TheWimpyVegetarian September 22, 2011
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.
fiveandspice September 22, 2011
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. :)