Potato and White Bean Soup with Olive Puree

The weather has been chilly and today the rains returned. It's officially autumn and time for one of my favorite soups. The puree of beans and potatoes make the texture so rich while the rosemary and olive oil bring on the flavor (not to mention the spike of olive puree). This recipe was adapted from a cookbook called The Basque Kitchen.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
one 15-oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 to 3 small potatoes, peeled and coarsley chopped
4 to 5 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper
25 to 30 green (or kalamata) olives pitted

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion, garlic and rosemary; saute for five minutes. Add the beans, potatoes, vegetable stock, salt and pepper; add water, if necessary, to cover. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer soup to blender and puree. Return to saucepan to reheat. Put olives in blender and food processor to puree. Ladle soup into bowl and garnice with swirls of olive puree.

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