Aspic has always been a staple of Russian cuisine. It is usually served with horseradish, hot mustard and vodka. Aspic is actually well-boiled meat in a jellied meat stock. This dish would warm anyone even in bitter freezes, though it is a cold appetizer. Aspic is a traditional holiday dish in Russia. Not only is aspic tasty, it is also very healthy. Natural gelatin in meat stock is beneficial for our joints and bones. Also, homemade aspic is rich in calcium. Orthopedists advise the aspic for stronger bones, though you have to be moderate on it of course.
Ingredients for Russian-Style Aspic
- 2-3 pork knuckles
- 2-2.2 lb (1 kg) beef meat
- 6-8 bay leaves
- 8-10 whole black peppers
- 2 onions
- 5-6 garlic cloves
- 1 carrot
- Rinse the beef and knuckles thoroughly.
- Cut the beef into large pieces and hack the knuckles.
- Put it all into a large pot.
- Pour in cold water so that the meat is about one inch (2 cm) below water level.
- Bring to boil and carefully remove any foam with a slotted spoon.
- Once the meat is cooking at a rolling boil and the foam doesn’t float up anymore, add peeled and coarsely cut onion and carrot.
- Add black pepper, bay leaves, salt to taste and cover with the lid ajar.
- Cook meat for about 3-4 hours over very low heat.
- Check doneness with a fork. When the meat easily breaks off the bone, add finely chopped garlic, cook for additional minute and turn the heat off. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Sieve the stock into a large bowl or another pot.
- Remove meat from the bone and arrange on plates, cut the carrot nicely and top the meat with it.
- Remove hardened far off the stock and pour into plates.
- Put the plates in a fridge or place in a cold place. Wait until aspic is fully set and serve.
- Garnish as you like by chopping the meat finely or, like for holidays, with greens and large pieces of meat.