Dynamic Duo

Pears meet Champagne in an elegant autumn soup

Eating a ripe, juicy pear out of hand is undoubtedly one of the best ways to enjoy the fall fruit. But Henri's chef Dirk Flanigan is proving that pears can also form the foundation of fine-dining dishes at his new and immensely popular Chicago restaurant. For one arresting autumn offering, he purees sweet pears into a silky soup, then adds Champagne (for body) and lemons (for a hit of acidity). Savory garnishes of blue cheese and crisp celery leaves complete the elegant starter, which is incredibly easy to make at home.

Recipe adapted from Dirk Flanigan, Henri, Chicago

Pear-Champagne Soup With Blue Cheese
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Chef Dirk Flanigan's recipe for pear soup from his Chicago restaurant, Henri
Servings
4
servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
  • 5 ripe pears (d'Anjou or Comice)--peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about ¼ cup)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled and at room temperature
  • 12 celery leaves
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock and pears to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until the pears are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the red-pepper flakes and remove the saucepan from the heat.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the pears and stock until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl. Stir in the Champagne, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the soup among 4 shallow bowls and garnish with the blue cheese and celery leaves. Serve immediately.
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