Maui Onion and Asian Pear Soup with Tarragon

Ian Kleinman

The Inventing Room, Denver, CO

The sweet flavor of this rich soup is reminiscent of curry. Tinker with the seasonings at the end to bring everything into balance.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large (1 pound) Maui or other sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 medium (1/2 pound) carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks (1/4 pound) celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 large (1 1/2 pounds total) Asian pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 bunch (about 3 ounces) tarragon, leaves picked off the stem and chopped
  • 4 cups (1 quart) chicken stock
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • 2 cups (1 pint) half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


Heat the oil in a 6-quart saucepan set over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until deeply caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the Asian pears and cook a couple of minutes longer, until the pear softens. Add the oregano, onion powder, cinnamon, and tarragon, and cook 2 minutes more, until the spices and herbs give off a strong aroma.

Pour in the chicken stock, heavy cream, half-and-half, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, set the cover ajar, and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, until the mixture has thickened and the flavors have blended. Purée in a food processor and through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Bring to a boil and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, maple syrup, and lemon juice to taste.


6 to 8 servings