Elizabeth David’s Beetroot Consommé

Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table

Before Alice Waters, Lucia Watson, and Brenda Langton, British author Elizabeth David carried the banner for fresh, local, and seasonal. David is often credited with re-introducing post-World War II Britain to French and Italian cuisines, and drawing ration-weary Britons out of their doldrums. Wrote James Beard in the foreword to the first American Edition of Elizabeth David Classics, “Elizabeth David shook her readers out of their culinary rut, challenging them to explore a different world of food and to seek out and use unfamiliar ingredients and flavorings. She was a leader, ahead of her time…”

At my house, beets often get banished to the cellar until fall, until I drag them up to roast them. But, beets hit Minneapolis-St. Paul farmers markets, CSA shares, and co-ops mid-summer. Why wait until fall to enjoy them?

This deceivingly simply, yet elegant, recipe for beet consommé has been adapted from David’s Summer Cooking, which, along with Mediterranean Food and French Country Cooking, is rolled into a single volume, Elizabeth David Classics.

Serves 4

2 lbs uncooked beets
4 pints beef stock
2 carrots
2 turnips
2 tsp Orleans vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
fresh or sour cream

  1. Peel the beets and cut into small pieces.
  2. Simmer stock, beets, carrots, and turnips until soft and the soup is red.
  3. Strain through a sieve. Do not press the vegetables.
  4. Return the soup to the pan to reheat. Add vinegar.
  5. Serve with bowl of cream on the side.
Lori Writer / Heavy Table
Lori Writer / Heavy Table

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