Beetroot gazpacho

Aiden Byrne serves his vibrantly pink soup with potent vodka jelly and avocado sorbet for a showy starter
By Aiden Byrne
Beetroot gazpacho
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 2 hrs refrigeration time
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

For the beetroot gazpacho

  • 2 kg beetroot
  • 2 large golden beetroot
  • rock salt
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 300 ml fresh apple juice
  • 500 ml juice of beetroot, available from specialist suppliers online
  • 125 ml sherry vinegar
  • 1-2 pinches sugar

For the avocado sorbet

  • 2 medium avocado
  • 2 lemons, juice only
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 limes, juice and rind

For the vodka jelly

  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 2 sheets leaf gelatine, softened
  • 200 ml vodka, preferably Belvedere
  • coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish

Method

1. For the beetroot gazpacho: Preheat the oven to 160C/gas 2½. Wrap half of the beetroot and all of the golden beetroot in aluminium foil, place on a baking tray lined with rock salt then transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.

2. Remove all the beetroot from the oven and leave it wrapped for 10 minutes this will make it easier to peel. Peel the golden beetroot and use a small cutter (about 1.5cm in diameter) to cut four round pieces of beetroot. Peel the other cooked beetroot (using gloves if you wish to avoid staining), cut four more pieces with cutter and chop the remainder up into small pieces.

3. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix with the olive oil add this to the chopped beetroot, set aside in the foil.

4. Peel the remaining raw beetroot, chop the flesh into small pieces and place them in a blender with the cooked beetroot, the apple juice and the beetroot juice. Blend until smooth, then pass the liquid through a fine sieve but only tap the sieve, dont try to push the pulp through the sieve, because you only want the juice. Put the liquid in a clean bowl over another bowl of iced water.

5. Season with salt, to taste. Then add the sherry vinegar and sugar. Pass again through a fine sieve and refrigerate, covered. You will probably need to test the seasoning again once the gazpacho is fully chilled.

6. For the avocado sorbet: peel the avocados and use the same cutter you used for the beetroot to cut four shapes out. Coat in a little of the lemon juice and set aside. Heat the sugar along with 100ml of water in a deep-based pan and bring to the boil, then turn the heat off.

7. Blend the remainder of the avocado in the blender and add the sugar syrup. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl and add the lime juice, lime rind and the remaining lemon juice. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until frozen. Store covered in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

8. For the vodka jelly: heat a couple of tablespoons of water in a small saucepan and add the gelatin. Stir until it has dissolved completely. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka. Pass the jelly through a fine sieve into a small container and leave to set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. It will go cloudy, but do not worry.

9. To serve, re-taste the soup and add salt if you think it necessary. Pour it into four chilled bowls. Add the chopped beetroot and set-aside avocado, spoon in some vodka jelly and avocado sorbet and garnish with a few coriander leaves.

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