This soup is at home at the most elegant dinner party or served in thick mugs alongside crunchy crudités, paté and cheese for a mid-winter lunch. The Stilton gives a salty note, and the sautéed pears provide a sweet counterpoint to this lovely twist on an old traditional standby.Print
For the Soup
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 c chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (about 3 medium)
- 1 c coarsely chopped celery
- 2 lbs (about 4 medium) red-skin or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
- 4 c chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- ½ tsp crushed dried or 1 ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 10 oz crumbled Stilton or other blue cheese
- ½ c half-and-half cream
- kosher salt
For the Garnish
- 2 Bartlett pears, ripe but not too soft
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp sugar
- small rosemary sprigs
- Heat butter in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat. When hot, add the leeks and celery and saute, stirring, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the cubed potatoes, stock and rosemary. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until vegetables are very tender (about 20 to 25 minutes).
- Puree using an immersion blender (or in batches if using a blender or food processor). Set the pot over low heat. Whisk in most of the cheese until it melts, preserving some for garnish. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat.) Whisk in the half-and-half and cook 1 minute longer. Taste soup and adjust seasonings.
- To make the pear garnish, peel, core and halve the pears lengthwise. Cut each half into ¼” thick slices. In a medium skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. When hot, add the pear slices and cook until golden brown on the undersides (about 2-3 minutes). Sprinkle with a little sugar. Turn and cook until golden brown on the other side (1-2 minutes).
- To serve, ladle the soup into six bowls and garnish each serving with two to three pear slices, some crumbled Stilton and a small rosemary sprig
- Serving Size: 6