Aspic? Kholodets? What on earth is it?!
Aspic? Kholodets? What on earth is it?!

Do you remember the time when we were able to travel freely, visit any country, walk into any restaurant… The time when you tried (or at least looked at) all the fascinating, weird food that locals eat. If like us you are feeling nostalgic, we prepared a nice recipe for you to bring the taste of Russia to your home!

The meat jelly!

If your first reaction is Oh Lord! No! just wait and let us explain. The classic Easter European Kholodets is honestly one of the best dishes I tried! Full of flavour, with delicious mouth-watering pieces of meat and vegetables, encased in a clear dome of congealed bone broth. And it is healthy!

Why the bone broth is good for you…

Bone broth is rich in minerals that help build and strengthen your bones. It contains many healthy nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Consuming bone broth, especially on a daily basis, can build calcium, iron, and vitamins A and K. What’s best is that it is very cheap to prepare! Grab some bones, a chicken, duck or turkey carcass and leave it to simmer…ideally for a minimum of 5 hours. If you want to add some extra health benefits, add turmeric and black pepper to the boiling water. After a few hours, add vegetables from your local greengrocer (carrots, parsnips, leek, celeriac and celery) and leave it alone for the magic to happen. But that’s just my way of making the perfect bone broth. If you are looking for a proper recipe, this is the book for you:

BUY ON AMAZON 1Kholodets!

Once you master the bone broth, the next, logical step, is to try to prepare kholodets. In Eastern Europe, we usually eat it for special occasions, but in my family – we make it whenever we fancy one! I remember it clearly as a picture-perfect family time; all of us sat around a table, taking the meat of the bone. It’s still the fondest memory from my childhood! Given the long cooking time, this is probably not one of the quick weekday evening kind of recipes. The proper, special bone broth when making kholodets, must contain enough jellying ingredients boiled together – usually pork legs and ox tail, well cleaned by a very sharp knife. However, if you cannot find pork feet at your local butcher, you can make perfectly good kholodets with a beef gelatine powder as well! We’ve tried it, and it works!


Kholodets recipe:


1 pork foot or ox tail

2 chicken leg quarters

2 pork chops

1 onion

1 carrot

whole medium garlic

¼ cup salt

2 tbsp pepper corns

few bay leaves

Add meat, onion, carrot, bay leaves and spices to a large pot and cover everything with water. Bring to a boil. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 5 hours, skimming off any foam and fat that rises to the top of the pot. Just before it’s done, add minced garlic for the extra flavour. Turn off the heat, remove all meat and filter broth through gauze or paper towels. Let the meat cool down before the next step. Once cooled, separate meat from the bones and shred it. Spread the meat on the bottom of your serving dishes (medium glass containers), pour broth over the meat and refrigerate until firm (usually overnight).

Serve with freshly-grated horseradish or mustard. Or sprinkled with apple cider vinegar. Enjoy!


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