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Cauliflower, Pear, and Fennel Soup

Featured in our 2018 Christmas Guide
Scott Phillips

Servings: 4 to 6

Sweet, earthy, and aromatic with an amazingly smooth texture, this soup makes an elegant first course. You can purée and refrigerate it a couple of days ahead; add the cream and seasonings after gently reheating it.


  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 3 cups), rinsed well
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup pear juice
  • 7 cups lower-salt chicken broth or water
  • 1 small head cauliflower (about 1-1/2 lb.), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 large ripe pear, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh tarragon; more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream; more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 300
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 160
  • Fat (g): 17
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 50
  • Sodium (mg): 520
  • Carbohydrates (g): 32
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Protein (g): 10


  • Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, fennel, parsnip, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the pear juice, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a syrup, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, pear, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low, partially cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft, about 40 minutes. Stir in the tarragon.
  • Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth and transfer to a large bowl. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the cream, and reheat. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with a thin swirl of cream and a sprinkle of tarragon.


Rate or Review


  • springs9 | 11/11/2018

    This soup never fails to please and impress my guests. Elegant and easy to make Delicious and creamy smooth without adding the cream.

  • Krispie | 10/22/2017

    This is an excellent soup. I will make at least once each fall, if not twice. Delicious and easy.

  • Kokinneke | 12/02/2016

    Too much butter for my taste. I did't even add the heavy cream! Too sweet too; 1 blended pear will do it next time. I'll make it again cause it yielded 3 L! good for freezing for a singel gourmet lady. NOTE: if you don't have fennel by hand, use a star anise in the broth and take it out before blending. ;-)

  • Nickels | 05/05/2016

    I had a very hard time finding pear juice for this one, so I sweet-talked the juice bar at my grocery store into making some for me out of pears I bought at the same grocery store. The soup is awesome! I shared a second batch with a friend and months later she will still casually mention how good the "pear soup" was and how she wouldn't mind if I made some more.

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