Beetroot sorbet

Beetroot sorbet


Share recipe

hide story show story

June is here and the season for beetroot has just begun. They aren’t the easiest of vegetables to deal with: they require a good scrubbing, both of the beetroot skin and of your hands after dealing with them - and even then you might not get the stains out (you could wear gloves, but that seems like cheating).

The effort is worth it, though. Until I moved to the UK, my experience with beetroot was pretty much limited to cold beet soup (I thank my Polish and Lithuanian grandparents for that). But here, beetroot finds its way into all manners of dishes, commonly salads where you’ll often find them partnered with ingredients like horseradish, dill, carrots and goats cheese.

In my world, the easiest and least messy way to deal with beetroot is to scrub them well and boil until you can easily poke through the largest beetroot with a skewer (anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the beetroot). Others claim that roasting is superior and helps preserve more flavour (in which case, wrap in foil and roast at 180°C for 1 to 2 hours, until it passes the skewer test). Either way, you end up with cooked beetroot that’s ready to be taken to the next level.

My most creative use for beetroot this year is the following beetroot sorbet. I was inspired by the Huffington Post, and created this version using agave nectar instead of sugar. It’s a great way to freshen up the often earthy beetroot. You could eat it for dessert, but I’ve found its best use is in savoury dishes, for example, topped with shaved pecorino and good balsamic. And if you’re a fish fan, it would be a perfect match for mackerel.

Place the beetroot in a saucepan and cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer, uncovered, until thoroughly cooked and tender all the way through (30 - 120 minutes depending on the beetroot). Test their done-ness by inserting a skewer into the biggest beetroot - if it slides in and out without resistance, the beetroot are ready; if not, continue to cook, adding more water if necessary to keep the them submerged
When the beetroot are done, remove from the pan and let them cool, reserving the cooking water
When the beetroot are done remove them from the pan and let them cool
When cool enough to handle, peel off their skins, roughly chop and place in a blender with 1 1/2 cup of the reserved boiling water, the agave nectar and the lemon juice
Blitz until absolutely smooth. Give your purée a taste - is it sweet enough? I like mine on the tart side but others may prefer a bit more sweetness (bear in mind that once frozen, the sorbet will taste less sweet than it does at room temperature)
Pour the purée into a shallow bowl or pan and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, for about 1 hour
When the purée is chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the sorbet to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the sorbet is firm, for at least 4 hours
Cover tightly and freeze until the sorbet is firm, for at least 4 hours
Share recipe