Russian food, much like Russia itself, is varied and diverse. But the majority is big and filling, to satisfy the appetites of those living in harsh weather conditions. How else could you survive -30°C winters? One of the most interesting and unusual dishes is the holodets, essentially a delicious meat jelly. Strange as it sounds, holodets have earned their place on most Russian tables during celebrations, often served with a spicy condiment, similar to mustard, made from horseradish. So for those of you intrigued by
the idea, here’s what you will need. Serves 5.
1300g ham hock
Salt and pepper
5 garlic cloves
To start off, wash all the meat in cold water. For the best results, it is recommended to let it soak overnight. Fill a pot with water, add the meat and bring to the boil. Once the water has boiled, turn down the heat and place a lid on the pot. Allow the meat to cook for three hours.
While the meat is cooking, peel and slice the carrots and the onions. Add those to the pot containing the meat after one hour. Then season, add bay leaves and let it cook for the remaining two hours. After three hours, strain the meat and vegetables. Keep the liquid in the pot and add garlic. Cut up the meat into slices and place into moulds, muffin trays or mini jelly moulds will do. Strain the broth through and pour it on top of the meat.
Allow it to cool to and then place in the fridge overnight. The following day, the mixture will have solidified and will be ready for you to surprise your guests with your international nous. For added Russian authenticity, serve with horseradish paste or mustard.