Calves’ Liver with Beetroot

This is a typical restaurant dish, involving a brief sauté in a non-stick pan and an equally brief deglazing. The whole thing takes only 5 minutes and is adapted from Michel Guérard’s recipe in his book Cuisine Gourmande, one of the most important cookery books of recent years and one from which all the chefs I know have drawn inspiration. The beetroot imparts a stunning colour to the finished dish. Quantities given are for two people.


  • 2 slices of calves’ liver, each weighing about 170g/6oz
  • 4tbsp flour
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 small cooked beetroot
  • bunch of chives
  • 85g/3oz butter
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 4tbsp veal stock. Chicken Stock or chicken consommé
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh horseradish, to garnish (optional)


  • non-stick frying pan large enough to hold both slices of liver easily


Mise en Place

Season the flour • Finely dice the shallot • Thinly slice the peeled beetroot • Chop the chives.


Put the pan over a medium heat with half the butter. Put the seasoned flour into a suitable receptacle and dredge the liver in it a slice at a time. A plastic bag is a good way of doing this, as you can shake it gently and achieve an even coating. Hold each piece and spank it gently to remove any excess flour.

As the butter foams, add the liver and sauté for 90 seconds on each side. Transfer to warmed plates and keep warm.

Turn up the heat Add the shallot beetroot and sherry vinegar and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the stock or consommé and boil vigorously until it is coloured by the beetroot and is a slightly syrupy consistency. Take off the heat and swirl in the remaining butter. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.


Pour this sauce over the liver and strew with chopped chives. It is even better with fresh horseradish grated over.