Quick & Easy Meat Aspic {Холодец/Заливное}

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Meat aspic, 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 it 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, which naturally have gelatin and release it after long, long, hours of cooking. I have the recipe for that one also, but it still needs to be posted. Meanwhile, I wanted to share a recipe for a quicker 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 recipe is for you!

Also, I don’t like serving 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 one large dish.

Quick & Easy Meat Aspic

Ingredients

  • 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
  • Parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Unflavored gelatin

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, cover the meat with water by about 2 inches.
  2. Bring to boil over high heat, turn it down to a simmer and cook until the meat is almost fork tender.
  3. For chicken – about 40 minutes; beef – 2 hours; pork 2 hours.
  4. Continuously skim the top for impurities with a slotted spoon. Do not cover with lid.
  5. 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.
  6. If the water evaporates, add enough hot boiling water, to always have the meat submerged.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove the meat. Add pressed garlic and parsley, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Line a sieve with 3-4 layers of paper towels and drain the broth. The paper towels will catch the fat.
  10. Discard the vegetables/aromatics.
  11. 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.
  12. Shred the meat with 2 forks, discarding any fat or bones.
  13. Distribute the meat in a large purex dish, or between 10-12 small serving dishes/ramekins, filling it with ⅔ meat.
  14. Measure how much broth you have. For every 1 cup of broth, you will need 1¼ tsp unflavored gelatin.
  15. 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.
  16. Warm the mixture for about 20 seconds in the microwave (do not boil!). Stir until gelatin dissolves.
  17. Transfer the warm gelatin mixture to a pitcher, or something that’s easy to pour from, slowly add the rest of the broth. Stir.
  18. Slowly pour over the meat, making sure that the meat is completely submerged.
  19. Blot the top, with a paper towel, if any fat is seen.
  20. Add parsley, for decoration.
  21. Transfer to fridge and allow to set for 2 hours.
  22. Serve with horseradish sauce or wasabi.

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