This is a delicate, beautiful, sweet yet savory soup. It is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. You have a hint of sweetness from the pear and maple syrup contrasted with the savoriness of the bacon, blue cheese, stock, veggies and herbs. It is bowl licking delicious! You can serve it as a starter for chicken, pork, and milder fish. It combines beautifully at lunch with with cold cut sandwiches, or you can simply eat it by itself. Try it and you will see it is one of those WOW moments in dining.
- 5 ounces Smithfield bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed (around 1/2 inch)
- 1 medium-small carrot, small dice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 5 pears – I used Bartlett – peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 3 cups mildly flavored chicken broth
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- crumbled blue cheese for serving (I prefer a creamy, strong blue cheese but that is my taste)
- salt and ground white pepper to taste
In an 8 qt dutch oven, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve on a paper towel lined plate.
Pour off all but one Tablespoon of the fat in the pot (you don’t want to use all of it because it will definitely overpower the pear), and add the butter. Heat over medium until foaming.
Add the onion and stir. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and sweat the onions until soft (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Make sure the heat is sufficiently low so as not to brown the onions.
Stir in the garlic, potato, and carrot, cover again. Turn the heat to medium and cook another 10 minutes. Now, add the maple syrup, pear, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, thyme, sage and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes to coat the pear with the syrup and other flavors.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes and pears are soft, about 15 minutes.
Blend in batches until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Add the creme fraiche and stir. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Sprinkle the bacon crumbles and blue cheese on top. For added color and freshness, top with a little chopped parsley.
Serve and Enjoy!