1. Add the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaves, cloves and olive oil to a large pan.
2. Place it over medium heat until hot. Gently fry the onion and garlic for 4 minutes. Then add the diced (sweet) potato.
3. Stir the vegetables well and cook them for about 4 minutes. In the meantime chop the beetroot up roughly. Keep 2 handfuls aside to dice up for garnish later on (optional). Add the chopped beetroot to the pan.
4. Then pour in the vegetable or chicken stock and add the tomato paste as well. Season with a good dash of pepper and salt.
5. Turn the heat up until the vegetables and stock are boiling. Then turn the heat lower again and gently cook the beetroot soup for about 8 to 10 more minutes until the (sweet) potatoes are soft. Once all the ingredients are cooked, remove the bay leaves. Blend the beetroot soup until it is very smooth and silky.
6. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Check the seasoning of the beetroot soup and add extra pepper, balsamic vinegar or salt to taste if necessary. Dice the beetroot that you kept aside earlier on into small bits and add them to the hot soup.
7. Stir and let the soup rest for another 2 minutes. Then scoop the beetroot soup into large bowls. Garnish with the sour cream or some crumbled feta cheese (if using). Serve the soup piping hot with some grilled bread.