A Russian Recipe: Kholodets or Studen’ (Jellied meat!)

Lets make an interesting dish served in Russia just about by everyone. I believe that most buy it at the store now already made and it is available in almost any grocery store around Russia…

Kholodets (also called studen in some parts of Russia) is a jellied meat dish of traditional Russian cuisine. It gets its name from kholod, the Russian word for cold and is an essential part of winter holiday festive meals. However it can be cooked anytime – as long as you have seven hours to plunge yourself into the cooking process plus extra time for some preparations before cooking. Otherwords you need about a total day to prepare this dish…

Come to Russia and someone will invite you to eat a treat of Kholodets…

Don’t make a face until you try it. Then you can make a face… 🙂

Lets make Kholodets…

7 pints (4 liters) cold water
2 tablespoon salt
2½ lb (1 kg) calf’s feet (or pig’s feet)
3 bay leaves
1 lb (450 g) lean beef chuck, plus bone (or pork loin)
1 whole head garlic
1 lb (450 g) chicken necks, skin removed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I like to use crushed red pepper also)
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
3 hard-boiled eggs

Method to cook and prepare:

In a large kettle or stockpot heat the water until warm.

Then add the calf’s feet, beef, and chicken necks. (pork if not beef)

Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer.

If foam is on the top of the water skim it off. Then keep skimming off the foam as it rises to the surface. Do this until it stops foaming…

When the foam has stopped rising, add the onion, carrot and 2 tablespoon salt.

Partially cover the pot and cook the broth over very low heat, at a gentle simmer, for 6 hours, until the broth is rich.

After 6 hours the water level should be reduced by about half.

Now about one hour before the broth is ready, add the bay leaves and finish the last hour of simmering.

After 6 to 7 hours, It is then time to strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth into a clean pot. You should be able to obtain about 3½ pints (2 litres) of broth liquid.

Now with what is strained out in the cheese cloth: Remove carrot, onion, bay leaves and discard (I like to eat it (except bay leaf) instead of wasting them.)

Remove the meat from the chicken necks and shred it along with the beef/pork. Remove the feet and remove any meat if desired from them.

Peel the whole head of raw garlic and press the cloves through a garlic press. Stir in the pressed garlic 2 teaspoons salt and the black pepper. Mix all very well with the meat you just shredded.

Prepare 1 liter or 1 quart molds by spraying them very lightly with Pam oil. Pour in enough broth to cover the bottom of the mold generously, then refrigerate until the broth has jelled. (Also Russians makes lots of small molds of this as individual servings for guests.)

Top the jelled layer with sliced hard-boiled eggs (and other garnish, if desired).

Then place a layer of meat on top of the sliced eggs and pour on the remaining broth to cover the ingredients well.

Then place in the refrigerator and allow to chill for 8 hours or overnight. (See takes lots of time!)

Scrape off any loose fat that has formed on the surface (You want just the meat, eggs and jelly).

To turn out, run a knife carefully around the edges of the gelatin to loosen it. Wrap the mold for just a moment in a hot tea towel, then place a serving platter over it and invert the Kholodets on to the plate.

Serve it well chilled with a pot of spicy mustard on the side. (Actually grey poupon is really good with it…)

So hey if you have some pig feet and calves feet laying around then give this recipe a try. You do not add any gelatin because the idea is to use these pig/cows feet to create that gelatin…

This is really very good and I have discovered that to not drink vodka is acceptable by Russians in this day and age. But to not eat their Kholodets is an insult…

It is a Russian tradition from the old days…

Windows to Russia!