Aspic is a savory meat jelly that is made from broth that thickens as it cools. For this recipe, we will speed up the process by using gelatin.
Aspic may or may not be a dish you are familiar with. In the United States, people used to love aspic in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, it kind of fell off the radar. However, it is still extremely popular in Eastern Europe.
Growing up in a Ukrainian household, I expected aspic at every celebration and family party. If you find yourself turning your nose up a bit to the idea of this dish, I beg you to not knock it before you try it. Be adventurous and read on!
What is Aspic?
At this point, you are probably wondering what aspic tastes like and how to eat it. In short, aspic is a combination of chicken, onions, garlic and fresh herbs in a gelatin of bone broth and spices. Prepare hot and consumed cold, this meat jelly melts from the heat of your mouth and releases an awesome broth. Yes, it may sound weird, but this dish has been eaten for CENTURIES for good reason. It’s decadent, interesting and sure to impress.
In Eastern Europe, this dish is called “kholodets”. Traditionally, it takes A LONG TIME to make this dish. Over the course of the day, my mother would boil bones with plenty of cartilage — like pig and cow feet, pig knuckles or chicken feet — alongside carrots, herbs, onions, etc. This process would release all the collagen and marrow from the bones, creating a natural gelatin. Today, I often skip the feet and knuckles and opt to use gelatin packets for quicker results.
Back in the day, we ate aspic because it was delicious and a great way to use those collagen-rich bones. We would serve it alongside warm mashed potatoes and it was so comforting to me as a child. With all the current hype surrounding “bone broth” and Keto diets, I know see just how healthy aspic actually is. It’s full of protein and nutrients, while being low-carb. Convinced to give it a try yet?
Tips for Making Aspic
- Meats to Use: Like I said above, the best meat to use for aspic is pork — especially the feet because of all that natural gelatin. But, because many of my guests tend not to be so inclined to eat pigs feet, I use bone-in chicken and gelatin packets.
- Veggies to Use: Just like with any broth, you want to use all the usual suspects. Celery, carrots and onions make for the perfect aspic.
- Herbs: You can use any fresh herbs that you like. I love fresh dill and parsley.
- Other Flavoring: Sometimes I pop a couple bay leaves into the broth (make sure to remove them before letting the gelatin set). If you’re feeling creative, feel free to use whatever spice blend suits your fancy.
Can You Freeze Aspic?
I really would advise against freezing aspic. The texture and taste just wouldn’t be the same after thawing or defrosting. This dish is best eaten fresh. It will, however, keep for about a week stored in an airtight container in the fridge if you’re looking for leftovers.
Make Aspic in an Instant Pot
Making aspic is the perfect opportunity to bust out the Instant Pot. You can cut down the cooking time significantly! Cook the ingredients on low pressure for about two hours. Then, allow the pressure to release completely naturally. Open the lid and skim off any fat or overcooked herbs that have floated to the top (remember, you want your aspic to be as clear as possible). Add in your gelatin and follow the rest of the recipe.
Other Childhood Classics to Try
- Place the cooking pot with water, chicken, carrots, onion, salt and pepper to taste. All just together and bring up to boil. Turn heat on really low and let cook for 4 hours.
- Remove carrots and onions. You can use carrots for decorations and you can throw away the onion. Remove chicken from pot. Clean chicken off the bone, break chicken into small pieces. In a 1/4 cup, add room temperature water and dissolve gelatin with water. Once its dissolved add to broth.
- In flat pan place chicken, carrots, and sprinkle with parsley and dill. Pour cooking broth over the chicken and herbs. Let it stay in the fridge to firm up, this process could take about 6 hours.
- Cut in cubes and serve.
Same 🙂 such a great childhood dish.
Isn't that zalivnoye though and not knolodets? Kholodets is made by boiling bones and meat rich in collagen for several hours and then using this thick broth with natural gelatine. Also, it doesn't traditionally contain any veggies in the final product - only meat. And the thickness of the broth makes it almost non-transparent. If you put store-bought gelatine over some meat and vegetables - it's zalivnoye. Kholodets doesn't need any additional gelatine - that's what makes it different from other kinds of aspic-like dishes.
Hi Dee! This recipe has been done in so many different ways, over the years. I love that you taught me something new though! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback. Have a great day!
Great recipe, thank you!
I have a question.
Would it be OK to combine pig feet with some pieces of chicken? This way pig feet would provide the necessary gelatin, and chicken thighs would give the meat to be put in the final product.
Hey there George, absolutely! In fact combining different meats gives the recipe so much more incredible flavor! Good luck and Happy Holidays!
My parents made this using g pigs feet. When jelly they would eat with vinegar poured over...but this peaks my interest. Is it like jello consistency? Thank you
I make it like that all the time. Vinegar and rye bread. Delicious 😋.
Hi Mary, The Aspic is a gelatized consistency. I hope you get a chance to try it. It's quite tasty!
Wonderful that you've published this recipe!
Hi Roger, I'm glad you are enjoying the recipe, thank you for your feedback!
Can I add garlic to the broth? Should I add before cooking or after?
Hi Lana, yes, you can a few whole garlic cloves for flavor in the broth. For a fresh garlic flavor, press garlic into aspic after cooking it.
I am from eastern Europe to and my parents and grandparents used to make this dish especially at Christmas was a special dish. They made it with garlic which was add to the broth after it cools off,and add few leaves of parsley for decoration on the top.
Thank you for sharing this dish I might do it myself soon. As a matter of fact this dish has calcium and collagen good for our bone health.
Hi Carla- My mom loves making this for the holidays as well, and she adds garlic to it too! So glad you found our recipe, hope you give it a try soon!
Also growing up in a Ukrainian household we had this all the time. Yes my mom did freeze the xolodetz....but she did and I do too, is to thaw it and reboil in and put the content back into a bowl and let it reset in the fridge overnight. It turns out perfect.
I also only use chicken....my Chocha (aunty) made it when we came to visit and i ran my tongue across the skin and hair,,,ugh...it turned me off for the longest time.
Ken, lol, your story is halarious. Thanks for sharing your feedback.
Thank you for saying good things about aspic! I have made it for years using leftover meats and vegetables. I am on a permanent liquid diet for medical reasons, and aspic is an important source of protein for me. If you have any variations on this recipe, e.g., what other ingredients you like to use, I’d love to see them. I thought today about how good a spring version would be using fresh herbs from the garden, maybe with mint?
He Cathy, that sounds so interesting with the spring version. We usually stick to this classic Ukrainian version. I know it has so many benefits.
Any one know how to make Italian blood pudding? No there is no blood in it it just is the color of dried blood! It’s tangy but mildly sweet. It is made with a gelatin like the aspic dish
I am not familiar with it. Hope others can help.
Please add e mail capability to your search engines. Thank you and love your posts 👍🤗😉💕
Hey, I have added you to our list. Thank you for asking!
Do I use 2 tablespoons of gelatin for 1/4 cups of water or did you mean two packets?
Hey Yana, 1 packet of gelatine equals to about 1tbsp. So either would work. Enjoy
Hello Natalya! I am a little confused, I wanted to use Instant Pot since you mentioned (You can cut down the cooking time significantly!) Cook the ingredients on low pressure for about four hours"
But it looks like it is still 4 hrs long same as using regular pot. Can I cook it on high pressure to cut the cooking time?
Tatyana, sorry, it should say 2 hours. Great catch! 🙂
Can this be made in an instant pot or maybe a crockpot ?
Sorry .. should’ve read everything ! Lol
Hey Tanya, I understand, enjoy!
I followed the recipe and it came out super watery. Really vague directions and poorly written. I don't think there is enough gelatin.
I agree. With the proportions given, you should have 4 cups not quarts of fluid for your dish. That way the amount of gelatin should be adequate providing you have enough of the natural gelatin of the broth, otherwise, add more gelatin.
This recipe could be written more clearly.
Thank you for sharing your feedback. The water does simmer down as it cooks. We have recently updated the recipe details, added a lot more information. Where do you feel we are missing info? Thanks for your feedback.
Sooo I made this and it turned out SO Good! I do have a few questions about it. I ended up using 2 cups of water less than required, for my pot is smaller. =( and I actually stopped cooking at 3.5 hours. Because I was worried that my water would fully disappear. So my questions is, is the whole 5 hours cooking for the chicken to cook fully, or for the water purpouse? And would it be fine to add more water to the pot while its cooking? Cause sadly, i only had enough water for 2 bowls! I did add a few more water when placing in bowl and it still harden up. whew. So i dont understand how my mom made 5-8 bowls at one time. Double the ingridents? How many bowls do you make with this recipe? Thanks!
Will definetly try to make more soon.
You could continue to add water, just make sure to add seasoning. But if the heat was on a very low, most of the water should of still be there because it wouldn't be boiling. You dont need to double the meat, you can use a larger pot and make 5 quart of water with this recipe, that would make 5-8 bowls.
Sorry for so many questions. But do you cook with the lid covered? And this much water is needed? Im nervous to make this cause you cook it for that long. Dont want to mess it up.
np about questions 🙂
You don't need to cover with a lid. About 4 quarts of water.
And it says to use a small cup with water and 2 packages of that gelatin stuff. About how small is the cup and water hot?
Cold water, just enough water to cover gelatin.
Is it okay to use frozen dill and frozen parsley?
Yes, you can totally use frozen one
So this is haladets? And you use drumsticks not chicken thighs?
Yes, haladets 🙂 yes, you are right 🙂
Hi, do you think this first step can be done in a crockpot for about the same time, 5-6hours? or it wont be the same?
I have never tried that before. As long as it doesn't boil really hard, and meat falls off the bone, I can totally see that working. Let me know how it turns out.