Another traditional dish of various east and west european cuisines (russian, ukrainian, polish, and many others): jellied meat, also knows as kholodets, studen, dragli, aspic, and many other names.
Main ingredient to successful preparation of jellied meat is using meat with cartilages (hocks, years, tails, etc), without these broth will not jelly (pig or chicken skin helps too).
If broth doesn’t jelly (too less cartilages used) you can dissolve a bit of gelatin in the broth before pouring it to the dish. I don’t like using gelatin, but it can be a fail-safe mechanism if you want to make the dish is ready in time for an important event.
- Pork hocks, with meat, bones and cartilages, about 2lbs
- Beef shank, with meat and bones, about 1.5lbs
- Chicken for soup, with meat and bones and skin, about 1.5lbs
- 2 carrots
- 1 parsley root or parsnip
- A slice of celery root
- 1 onion
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 10 whole black pepper corns
- 1-2 whole allspice corns
- Salt to taste
How to prepare, step-by-step:
- Prepare ingredients: it is important to use meat with bones and cartilages, if you can’t find pork hocks then ears with neck meat and bones may work; you can also use beef bones with cartilages, pork skin may work also:
- Rinse beef, pork and chicken; put them into a pot, fill pot with water, put it on burner and bring to boil: After water starts to boiling, pour it out rinse all meat, put it back to the pot and fill pot with enough water just to cover all meat (using too much water may prevent broth from jellying); put pot back to burner, cover with lid, bring to light simmer and cook for 3 hours:
- Peel vegetables (onion, celery root, carrots, parsnip/parsley root); pierce onion with small knife in couple of places, slice roots:
- Add all vegetables to the pot with meat:
- Add bay leaves, whole black peppercorns, allspice:
- Salt to taste (account for the fact the broth is still cooking and the volume will reduce), continue cooking the broth with vegetables for about one an hour over light simmer by then meat can be easily separated from the bones:
- Remove meats from the broth, let them cool down a bit and separate meat from bones, skin, cartilages (it takes time, so while you proceeding put cleared bones, skin and cartilages back to the pot to give them more time to cook), slice meats into smaller pieces and mix so beef with pork and chicken are evenly distributed:
- Peel and press garlic (or chop it if you like), mix:
- Transfer meat to the dish you will be serving the jellied meat in (or multiple dishes), even the meat layer out (I like to serve jellied meat in glass dishes because they can be see thru):
- Using a cheesecloth (the way I did or you can arrange the cheesecloth inside of colander set in another pot) filter broth from solid contents (vegetables, bones, etc, these can be discarded); then pour broth over meat (enough to cover the meat layer), be careful as the broth is probably still hot:
- Leave dish in a cooler place (but not too cold to freeze) to cool down and settle for 8+ hours (I kept mine in garage over night at about 45F):
- If the broth prepared properly it will thicken and jelly (once that happened the dish can be transferred to fridge), the layer of fat will form on top:
- Before serving jellied meat to a table it can be a good idea to remove fat on top (with a knife); serve jellied meat as appetizer or a main dish on itself; taste great with beets and horseradish relish or mustard:
Tips and Advices
- If broth doesn’t begin to jelly after 8 hours, pour it back with meat to a pot, add gelatin, put on burner, bring to light simmer, and cook until the gelatin dissolves completely, then pour broth back to serving dish and let it cool down.