2000s Recipes + Menus

Beet Consommé

  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish: 3 1/4 hr
December 2006
This is a more refined version of borscht, the Slavic classic. Often, borscht’s underlying flavor comes from using ham or a beef broth, but here smoked turkey becomes the secret ingredient, imparting a smoky depth that’s not too heavy.
  • 3 lb medium beets without greens (8 medium; about 4 lb with greens), scrubbed well and trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb smoked turkey legs or wings
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Boil beets, covered, in water (4 quarts) in a 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat until tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer beets with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool slightly, reserving cooking water. When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins. Cut 1 beet into 1/4-inch dice and reserve for garnish. Cut remaining beets into 1/2-inch pieces and return to cooking liquid in pot. Add turkey, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, dill sprigs, bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns and simmer, partially covered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Pour soup through a dampened cheesecloth-lined sieve set into a 3-quart heavy saucepan, discarding solids. Measure soup: If there is more than 6 cups, boil in cleaned pot until reduced; if there is less, add enough water to total 6 cups.
  • Skim fat from consommé, then add lemon juice and sugar and heat until hot.
  • Divide diced beet and chopped dill among 8 shallow soup plates and ladle consommé on top.
Cooks’ note: Consommé, without diced beet and chopped dill, can be made 1 week ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered.
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