Maui Onion and Asian Pear Soup with Tarragon

Ian Kleinman

The Inventing Room - Denver

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