This is a very simple soup recipe that’s delicious served hot or cold. What makes it special is the balance of sweet, smooth and earthy beetroot and salty, crunchy slightly bitter olives. Recipes are always about balance and I think this hits the nail quite nicely on the head.
Dehydrating the olives takes a bit of time but it’s super easy. It’s worth making a decent size batch as these are delicious sprinkled on pastas, risottos and crostinis too.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 200g)
- 1 kg peeled beetroot, grated (use a food processor if you have one or the coarse side on a box grater)
- 4 bay leaves
- 75g butter
- 800ml vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 100ml double cream
- Black kalamata olives or similar, stones removed
- Olive or rapeseed oil to serve
Begin my melting the butter in a wide heavy based pan. Add the onions, bay leaves and a generous pinch of salt and cook gently for 10-12 minutes until very soft.
Add the grated beetroot, vegetable stock and miso paste to the pan. Bring up to simmering point and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the beetroot is very soft. The mixture will feel very thick, but it gets looser as the moisture from the grated beetroot is released.
Remove the bay leaves. Blend the soup and then pass through a sieve, pushing it through with the back of a ladle. Discard any coarse particles left in the sieve.
Stir in the double cream to the sieved soup, season to taste and then chill. Serve sprinkled with dehydrated olive crumb and a drizzle of extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil.
Arrange the olives in a single layer on a plate. Place in a microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Transfer them to a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated to 150°C, 300°F or gas mark 2. They will take up to an hour to dehydrate but this largely depends on the type of olive you have bought.
Allow to cool and then bash them with a mortar and pestle or by placing them in a plastic bag and using a rolling pin to bash them into smaller pieces. Store in an airtight container. They will last for a good month at least.