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Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Holodets" – general recipe

Ingredients:

3-4 lb meat bones
1 lb meat
1 pack gelatin
4-5 bay leaves
Salt, ground pepper on taste
0.5 lb boiled vegetables
0.5 lemons
Garlic, parsley and dill on taste

Method:

This dish’s name “holodets” is from the Russian word “holod”, i.e., “cold”.
It is because the final preparation step is to cool in a refrigerator for a few hours.

Really, chicken, beef, or pork “holodets” is a meat jelly with meat cuts, vegetable cuts, and spices inside.
This dish is an ancient recipe, which is still the same as some hundreds of years ago, and this is a traditional dish for many Russian celebrations in rich and poor houses.

The first stage of the recipe is to make a tasty broth.
For that, put pieces of bones, or bones and meat in a large sauce pan in same time, pour cold water over them, put bay leaves, salt, and ground pepper, and bring to boil with low heating.
Remove foam when it comes up, until the boiling water is clear.
Boil for 2-3 hours, depending on bones’ size.
Soak gelatin in warm water (1 pack of gelatin – 1 cup of water) for 1 hour, mixing sometimes. After that, filter to remove unnecessary water.
Filter meat broth, and mix with soaked gelatin.
Cut cooked meat into small or medium cuts.
Cut any boiled vegetables (traditionally, cauliflower and carrots) into decorative cuts (stars, rings, etc.).
Pour thin layer of broth in a serving dish (traditionally, it is a large and deep round dish), and place in a refrigerator for half an hour to let freeze.
After that, put a few pieces of meat and vegetables in the serving dish, and pour broth over them to cover them.
Place in the refrigerator for half an hour,
Continue to add meat and vegetables, and cover them with broth until all ingredients run out.
After that, cover the dish with lid, and place in a refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
The dish is ready when jelly is strong.

Note:

You can serve this dish (Russians consider it an appetizer or a cold main dish) in a few ways:
You can serve it in the same dish, where everyone cuts a part for himself.
You can take a flat serving dish, place dish with “holodets” in very hot water for a couple of seconds, and turn it over on the flat dish, and after that slice it.
You can cut “holodets” into cubes, and everyone takes a few cubes for his own plate.
Traditionally, Russians decorate “holodets” with lemon slices, dill and parsley.
Serve with boiled potatoes, brined cucumbers, and brined mushrooms.

Note 2:

To make this dish have fewer calories, you can use vegetable broth and non-fat meat.
If you like garlic, you can place some fresh (not boiled!) cloves or cuts of cloves with other vegetables when you make this dish.

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