Holodets, or studen’, is a traditional Russian dish dating back many centuries. Holodets is essentially a meat jelly made by cooking pork legs, with addition of parts that contain skin and cartilage, such as ears and snout. These parts contain natural gelatin, which is what makes the jelly set. These days, many Russian cooks use powdered gelatin (same substance used in Jello-O). But I prefer to make holodets the old-fashioned way because the natural gelatin makes it set better – it’s neither too firm nor too runny.
- 2 pork hocks
- 2 bay leaves
- 1-2 pork earls or 1 snout
- 10 peppercorns
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1. Add pork hocks, ears, and snout to 2 liters of water, add salt, bay leaves and peppercorns. In a large pot, boil for 1 hour and 30 minutes, skimming off foam periodically. Add carrot and boil for a further 30 minutes until it’s cooked.
2. Remove pork hocks, ears, and carrot from the liquid; let cool. Clarify the broth by pouring it over a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Return clarified broth to the pot and simmer uncovered until it reduces in volume to about 2 cups.
2. Finely chop garlic and parsley. Chop the cooked carrot.
3. Remove pork hocks, ears, and carrot from the liquid; let cool. Clarify the broth by pouring it over a strainer lined with cheese cloth. Return clarified broth to the pot and simmer uncovered until it reduces in volume to about 2 cups.
4. Remove skin and bones from pork hocks and discard, but keep the meat. I usually discard the ears as well, but some people like to add them. Separate meat into strands. Place meat into a mold, such as a glass baking dish. Arrange carrots, garlic, and parsley on top of the meat.
5. Slowly pour reduced broth into the mold. The broth should completely cover the meat and vegetables. Put the dish into the fridge and let it congeal overnight. Serve with mustard and horseradish on the side.