Kholodets (Meat Aspic) Recipe
Kholodets or Meat Aspic is a traditional Ukrainian dish that is served with horseradish and beet sauce. It is made with very flavorful gelatinized meat broth and tender shredded meat. The meat is simmered low and slow for many, many hours which yields a ton of flavor. Combined with the spiciness of the horseradish sauce, this one is a true Ukrainian treat.
Kholodets might not be the best dish to bring to your work potluck, but if Kholodets is something you grew up eating and have always wondered how to make – here it is!
There are two types of Kholodets – one made with natural gelatine released from the bones and one made by adding the powdered gelatin to the broth. This one is made with natural gelatin as the simmering of the pigs feet and rear hock is what releases enough natural gelatin to set up the broth.
Anytime I make broth, I like it to be clear so that you can see the meat through it like through a piece of glass. Putting the broth through the paper towels several times is what takes out all the impurities and fat out of the broth and makes it beautifully clear. It’s an extra step that really makes a difference!
By the way, aside from the flavor benefits of this dish, Kholodets is amazing for your own bone and joint health! The collagen, glutamine and glycine which are released during cooking are really good for immune system and gut health. You can probably google “bone broth” to learn more about this.
Try it this holiday season and let me know what you think!
Kholodets (pix only)
- 2 pigs feet
- 1 pig's rear hock
- 2 lbs pork loin, fat trimmed
- 2 lbs beef boneless beef chuck, fat trimmed
- 2 large onions, peeled
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 3 stalks celery, rinsed
- 1 bunch parsley, washed under running water
- 1 head garlic, peeled, minced
- 15 black peppercorns, whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5 Tbsp kosher salt
For the Beet & Horseradish Sauce
- 1 large beet, cooked, finely grated
- 3 Tbsp hot horseradish sauce
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Salt, sugar, vinegar - to tastte
How to make Kholodets (Meat Aspic)
- To a large 8 qt pot add 2 pigs feet, 1 rear hock, 2 lbs pork loin, 2 lbs of boneless beef chuck and cover everything by about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Then remove the meat to a separate bowl. Discard the cooking liquid and wash the pot.
- Add all the meat pieces back to the pot, cover with water again, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 hours constantly removing impurities and fat that float to the top with a slotted spoon. Do not cover with a lid.
- If the water evaporates leaving the meat pieces uncovered, add enough hot boiled water to cover the meat. To help keep the meat submerged put smaller sized metal lid or a bowl on top of the meat. The weight of the lid/bowl will keep it submerged.
- Now add 2 onions, 2 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 15 black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and 1 Tbsp of salt to the broth. Continue cooking for 1 more hour.
- Lastly, add 1 head of minced garlic, 1 bunch of parsley and cook for 2-4 minutes. Do not forget to skim the broth all throughout the cooking process. Taste the broth and adjust the salt amount.
- After that, remove all meat chunks from the broth to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, set a sieve over a large pot and line with 2-3 layers of paper towel.
- Pour the broth through the paper towel lined sieve. Change the paper towels as the broth stops flowing through (the fat creates a barrier and prevents the liquid from going through). To get an absolutely fat free broth, you might need to drain the broth through paper towels several times. Any fat left in the broth will cover the aspic in white patches as it solidifies. For best results, cool the broth to room temperature before using in the next steps.
- Rip the cooled meat off the bones and shred to small pieces using two forks. Discard the pigs feet, any bones, skin or fat.
- Transfer the shredded meat pieces to a deep 9x12 glass dish. To make the meat aspic in individual portions, portion the meat between soup bowls or other small but deep containers.
- Pour the cooled to room temperature broth over the meat. Skim any fat that floats to the top with a spoon if needed. The meat should be covered by the broth.
- Add leaves of parsley for garnish if desired. Refrigerate until completely set, about 4-5 hours or overnight.
- Once set, cut into 2x2 squares and serve with beet horseradish.
To make the horseradish sauce:
- Combine 1 large cooked and finely grated beet with 3 Tbsp of Horseradish Sauce and ½ tsp of kosher salt. Add sugar, salt and vinegar as needed, to taste.
Add enough water to only cover the meat. If too much water is added, the Kholodets might not firm up.
Do not cover the pot with a lid, this will create cloudy broth and cloudy Kholodets.
You can use any other kind of meat instead of pork loin and the beef chuck, equal by weight to the one listed in the recipe.
Cooling the broth before pouring it over the shredded meat, prevents the fat in the meat from being melted and floating to the top.
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