Quick and Easy Kholodets – Meat Aspic
Meat aspic or as Ukrainians call it – Kholodets, is basically meat encased in some jellified meat stock. This used to be a very popular dish back in the 1950-1970, but not so much today, not everywhere anyway. The Slavic’s, haven’t gotten the memo apparently and still serve this Quick and Easy Kholodets at their family gatherings. I am one of those that has not gotten the memo and still like to make it from time to time.
Traditionally the gelling agent is made by cooking meat with some pig’s feet (like in this Kholodets recipe), which naturally have gelatin and release it after long, long, hours of cooking (I have the recipe for that one also).Meanwhile, I wanted to share a recipe for a Quick and Easy Kholodets version, that does not require 5-7 hours of simmering the pigs feet, to get that jellifying agent. Food police would lock me up and throw away the key if they found out, but I don’t think we have any around here, so I think I am safe. Also, this version allows you to use any any kind of meat, so if you’re trying to stay away from pork, lets say, this Quick and Easy Kholodets recipe is for you!
I don’t like serving meat aspic in large purex dishes because it makes for a less than perfect presentation. I think serving it in small individual cups/dishes makes better sense aesthetically, but if you like, you can definitely make kholodets in one large dish.
More recipes to try:
- Beet & Herbed Goat Cheese Terrine – A unique mix with goat cheese, chives, onions, and garlic.
- Shuba – Layered beet salad with herring.
- Canned Chanterelles – Delicious canned mushrooms.
Quick & Easy Kholodets Meat Aspic
This quick and easy Kholodets recipe (meat aspic) is a classic Ukrainan dish. A jellied meat dish made with chicken, carrots, onions and seasonings.
- 2 lbs chicken skinless thighs / beef chuck / pork shoulder any one or combination of these, your choice
- 1 large onion peeled
- 1 large carrot peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 10 whole peppercorns
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch Parsley
- 1 Tbsp Salt to taste
- Unflavored gelatin
In a large pot, cover the meat with water by about 2 inches.
Bring to boil over high heat, turn it down to a simmer and cook until the meat is almost fork tender (For chicken – about 1 hour; beef – 2 hours; pork 2 hours.)
Continuously skim the top for impurities with a slotted spoon. Do not cover with lid.
If the meat floats to the top, and is not being covered by the liquid, place a small lid on top of the meat, to keep it submerged.
If the water evaporates, add enough hot boiling water, to always have the meat submerged.
Add the onion, carrot, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt to taste (the broth has to be just a tad saltier than usual) and cook for another 40 minutes – 1 hour, until the meat is fork tender. Add a 1/2 a bunch of parsley tied with twine, the last 10 minutes before the end of cooking.
Remove the meat. Add pressed garlic and parsley, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Line a sieve with 3-4 layers of paper towels and drain the broth. The paper towels will catch the fat.
Discard the vegetables/aromatics.
Line the sieve with another 3-4 layers of paper towel and drain the broth again, making sure that no fat is in the broth being drained out.
Shred the meat with 2 forks, discarding any fat or bones.
Distribute the meat in a large purex dish, or between 10-12 small serving dishes/ramekins, filling it with ⅔ meat.
Measure how much broth you have. For every 1 cup of broth, you will need 1¼ tsp unflavored gelatin.
Take away ½ cup broth from the rest of the broth. Add gelatin to ½ cup of broth and let sit for 2-4 minutes, allowing the gelatin to bloom.
Warm the mixture for about 20 seconds in the microwave (do not boil!). Stir until gelatin dissolves.
Transfer the warm gelatin mixture to a pitcher, or something that’s easy to pour from, slowly add the rest of the broth. Stir.
Slowly pour over the meat, making sure that the meat is completely submerged.
Blot the top, with a paper towel, if any fat is seen.
Add parsley, for decoration.
Transfer to fridge and allow to set for 2 hours.
Serve with horseradish sauce or wasabi.
Serve with horseradish sauce or wasabi.
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It’s like boiling a soup. EASY. I use an envelop or 2 of gelatin, makes it much easier. I also pour into loaf pans. Pork country rib meat is good, or chicken thighs makes great holodetz. I like to layer sliced red radiches, very pretty. I eat it with dijon mustard and toasted bread, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes. Love it. My husband will not eat it. The kids will try it sometimes. LOL, I share it with my folks who taught me how to make it.
I love holodets with chicken thigh meat. Anything with dark chicken meat is good))) Great idea with the radishes! Thanks for your comment Lilly!
I have never made aspics…thought it must be very DIFFICULT to handle it. Thank you, Marina, for sharing.
I think you do it once and you will realize how easy it is, especially with this method of using gelatin instead of relying on pig’s feet))
Hi Marina, Love your pictures!!!
That’s exact how I make my holodets, except with chicken only. I never tried with beef or pork.
I will defiantly try 😉
Chicken is definitely healthier 🙂
I love holodets! Just read about aspics in Julia Child’s book – too bad they are not too popular these days.
Popular or not, I still like to make it from time to time))) but I hate it when it’s made in large dishes and then if you want to you scoop it out onto your plate and it just oozes all over, so I always make sure to make it in small ramekins of sort.