Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Beet Aspic

Jellied salads - I mostly hate 'em. Of course, people mostly make them with Jell-O, which is nasty, sweet and chemically, and frequently they don't stop there. Tinned fruit, tinned veg, salad "creme", even marshmallows are not unheard of. No wonder they have such a terrible reputation.

There are a few times when a jellied salad - lets call them aspics, and not confuse them with the nasty stuff - is a good idea. For a long time, Mum made a tomato aspic with shrimp in it for Christmas. That was lovely. Beets make a nice aspic too, with just a little touch of sweet and sour flavours and a little bite from some horseradish. They make a nice light and cool spot in a hot meal.

6 servings
30 minutes prep time - plus 3 hours waiting times

Beet Aspic
Cook the Beets:
3 or 4 medium beets ( 2 cups when cooked & diced)

Put the beets in a pot with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for about 45 minutes, until tender. Allow the beets to cool. Reserve the cooking water. Peel the beets and cut them into fairly fine dice. You may wish to reserve a slice or two of the beets to decorate the mold.

Make the Aspic:
1 stalk celery
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pure cranberry juice
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine
3/4 cup boiling beet cooking water
1 tablespoon horseradish

Wash and trim the celery, and chop it finely. Set it aside.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the lemon juice, water, sugar, salt and cranberry juice. Sprinkle the gelatine over this and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the beet cooking water to a boil.

Add the boiling beet cooking water to the gelatine mixture, and stir well, until the gelatine and sugar are completely dissolved.

Put a little of the gelatine mixture into your mould, and place the beet slices (presuming you have saved some beet slices) into position. Chill the mould until the gelatine has set; hopefully about 15 minutes. Leave the remaining gelatine mixture on the counter.

Mix the diced beets and finely chopped celery into the gelatine mixture. Spoon it into the mold and return the mould to the refrigerator until set; allow at least 2 hours.

To unmould the aspic, dip the mould into a bowl of very hot tap-water up to the line of the aspic, until you can see it melting around the edges. Lift the mould from the water, and give it a little shake from side to side to loosen the aspic. Put the serving dish over the top of the mould, and quickly flip it over so that the aspic lands in the middle of the serving dish. Return the aspic to the fridge for at least a few minutes to firm up again. Don't take it out until just before you want to serve it.

Last year I was posting right through Christmas, and I made Smoked Salmon-Trout Paté, Bacon & Potato Chowder and Aunt Helen's Raspberry-Rice Squares.

1 comment:

Latter-Day Flapper said...

Swear I read that as "beer aspic" and was thinking that aspic had finally gone too far. Beets sound much better.