Not Your Usual Dip & Chips – Spicy Molded Gazpacho

     Flavors of gazpacho are packed into a dip that is thickened with unflavored gelatin. Serve it with tortilla chips for a delicious and an out-of-the ordinary cocktail offering.
     The recipe came from Connie Burket of Salina and was a popular offering during the years we catered.
     This makes so much that I usually cut it in half for smaller groups. If it is made in small loaf pan, it can also be sliced and used as a salad (like classic tomato aspic) on a bed of lettuce.
     By the way, there are some tips and tricks for working with unflavored gelatin included in the recipe directions.

Spicy Molded Gazpacho      Yield 1 quart equivalent
2 envelopes (each 1/4 -oz.)  unflavored gelatin (Knox® brand)
2 cups spicy hot V-8® juice -- chilled
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup finely chopped green onions
6 slices bacon, crisp & crumbled
1 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 to 5 drops Tabasco® sauce

1.     Spray  or lightly oil a 1-quart mold (or use several smaller ones). I actually made a half batch and lined two small loaf pans with plastic wrap that were sprayed with pan release (see last photo). When ready to de-pan, just lift the molded dip out using the overhang of the plastic wrap.
2.     In medium sauce pan sprinkle gelatin over chilled V-8; let stand for 5 minutes.  

"Blooming" describes the softening step where the gelatin absorbs the water and swells. Be sure to sprinkle the gelatin over the cold liquid  -- if just dumped in the center, some granules may not dissolve. After sprinkling the gelatin, do not stir as this will cause the mixture to  lump.

3.     Cook on low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stir constantly. 
DO NOT LET THE GELATIN MIXTURE BOIL OR OVERHEAT: If it is heated close to the boiling point, it's best to discard it and start again. Boiling reduces the gelatin's strength and causes a top film to form, which in turn causes lumps in the mixture. 
4.     Stir in remaining ingredients and blend well. 

5.     Pour into prepared mold, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
It is important to store the finished gelatin mixture in a covered container to avoid the formation of a thick rubbery skin on the surface. 

6.  Unmold and serve with tortilla chips. 

For more info. on unflavored gelatin click on

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