From Bonnie Tawse
[I'm letting Bonnie do the talking here.] “My inspiration for this soup came from being an exchange student in Australia in high school. One of the first thing that struck me in terms of Aussie food was how mad they were for beets. (This is in the mid-80s, so way before Americans started the beet salad craze.) If you ordered a hamburger it came with sliced beetroot on it. Ditto for ordering the ubiquitous but yummy “salad roll” from the school cafeteria. I added the minty pea swirl, since I also became fond of the mashed minty peas that often came with bangers and mash and, as I later discovered when I returned a few years ago, piled atop a meat pie. I am still in touch with my Aussie family, they knew I was going to be making something for S&B with the Down Under theme and were lobbying hard for something with lamb, but I knew with my crazy schedule I had to keep it simple. This was a breeze to make. When I came home from Soup & Bread I had two FB messages, one from my Mum and one from my host sister, asking ‘How’d it go, Bon?’”
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
3 cups peeled and chopped red beets (about 3 medium)
6 cups broth – veggie or chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about four minutes, until almost translucent. Stir in cauliflower, beets, and salt. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until beets and cauliflower are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add white pepper and vinegar. Let soup cool at least 10 minutes then puree (in a blender in batches or with an immersion blender in the pot) until smooth, adding broth or a little water if needed to thin.
If needed, return soup to pot and bring to a simmer until hot. Garnish soup with a swirl of Minty Peas (see below).
2 cups frozen peas
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
½ cup fresh mint, leaves picked from stems
1 pinch sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place peas and water in a saucepan with a lid. Cook on high until peas are bright green and softened, about 2-3 minutes. Drain water, let peas cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add olive oil, sour cream or yogurt and puree until blended. Add mint, sugar, and lemon juice and puree again until smooth. Pour into a squeeze bottle and garnish the soup.