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One French word: betterave, a French recipe: crème de betterave

Betterave=beetroot, feminine noun (une betterave, la betterave, les betteraves), pronounced bet-euh-rav

Rave is the French word for a root vegetable. Céleri rave = celeriac, chou rave = kohl rabi, betterave à sucre = sugar beet.

Before we transported our food all around the globe at all times of year, the root vegetable was the staple in winter, the one thing that survived the cold, in earth and straw covered clamps. They were made into nourishing, warming soups, broths and stews that literally kept people alive.

My recipe today is crème de betterave (cream of beetroot soup), a thick, creamy, delicately pink soup that even children love (because it’s Princess colour) and is packed with warming ingredients.

Crème de betterave

You will need for 4 people (and the good news is that these ingredients are really not expensive):

  • 400gr of raw beetroot
  • 100gr raw potato
  • a fair sized onion, or two large shallots
  • 1 tbs oil
  • salt, pepper, a chicken cube or a half a litre of home made stock
  • a greek yoghurt (or an ordinary one, but make it a thick one)
  • some thick cream (it can be sour cream)
  • a few chopped herbs and a drizzle of hazelnut oil (optional)



  1. Chop the onion or shallot, skinned beetroot and peeled potato into cubes.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, put a tbs of oil and fry up the onion gently until it is transparent.
  3. Add the beetroot and potato. Continue frying a minute or two.
  4.  Add either a stock cube and half a litre of water, or half a litre of home made stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Blend the soup to a creamy consistency, leaving no lumps.
  6. Add the yoghurt and stir.
  7. Taste for seasoning, you may need more salt. Add freshly ground pepper.
  8. Re-heat and serve, garnishing each serving  with a tsp of cream, a drizzle of hazelnut oil, and a few chopped herbs. This can be served as a soup course, or, in greater quantities, as a main dish followed by bread and cheese.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

3 responses »

  1. I love beets; what a great new way to use them.

  2. I too love beetroot. I’ll definitely try this version. I eat it raw, too. Grated with onions, nuts and a good vinaigrette dressing. It’s good with added carrot too.


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