Yummy, yummy, yummy!  holodec_polza_i_vredAspic is a very distinctive Russian dish, and I highly recommend it.

That said, I debated with myself whether to post this recipe, because in my observation, people in the industrialized West have certain hangups about certain foods.  So, I’ll stop beating about the bush and just out with it: this fantastic thing is made from pigs’ feet.  There.  If you just felt a spasm in your throat reading that, please feel free to skip to the next recipe.  On the other hand, my (American) hometown has a popular restaurant whose specialty is pig trotters, and it’s been popular for, like, a decade now — so perhaps there is an audience for this recipe, after all.
Kholodetz (which translates, roughly, as “cold thing”) is a dish that consists of boiled minced meat bound in savory meat jelly.  It takes at least 2 days to make, but the amount of actual labor is not overwhelming.  It just requires some planning.
See Q&A at the end of the recipe for more information.
Ingredients
4 pigs’ feet with knuckles
1 calf’s foot 
3 lbs beef shanks
1 bunch dill 
1 bunch parsley
2 bay leaves
2 medium carrots, peeled (1 for each day of preparation)
1 parsley root (if you can find it where you live), peeled
1 small turnip, peeled
2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
2-3 celery stalks
1 leek (white part only)
1 tbsp soy sauce (not authentic, but this is my own way to bump up the umami)
salt to taste
3 hardboiled eggs
Tools
2 large stock pots with lids
several molds, trays or baking dishes to hold the finished kholodetz
fine mesh sieve
lots of cheese cloth
kitchen string
Directions:  Day 1
1.  Wrap the vegetables, the herbs (reserving a few dill fronds and parsley leaves for decoration) and the peppercorns in several layers of cheese cloth and tie with a kitchen string.
2.  Arrange the meats on the bottom of a stockpot, add boiling water to cover and a generous pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce the flame and simmer, uncovered, and periodically skimming off scum, for 15 minutes.
3.  Remove the meats from the stock pot and rinse them.  Discard the cooking liquid and wash and dry the stock pot.
4.  Add the vegetable-and-herb bundle to the bottom of the stock pot, return the meats to it, add cold water to cover the meats by about 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer very gently, without disturbing it, for about 8 hours.
5.  Turn off heat and let the pot cool to warm without disturbing it.  Do not refrigerate — rapid cooling will cause the stock to go cloudy.
6. Once the soup is cool enough to handle, remove the meats.  Remove and discard the vegetable and herb bundle.  Gently strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve lined with a couple of layers of cheese cloth (you may need to change the cheese cloth several times) into the second stock pot.  Make sure you warm the second stockpot beforehand, because again, rapid cooling ruins the stock.  Stir in the soy sauce and adjust the salt.
7.  Cover the second stock pot with a towel and let the stock cool further.  Do not refrigerate yet.
8.  While the stock is cooling, remove the bones and any undissolved tough cartilage from the meat and discard.  Chop the meat.
9.  Distribute the meat among the molds or dishes (the meat should come up to about 1/2 the height of each dish) and pack down firmly with your fingers.  Allow the meat to cool to room temperature.  Cover the molds or dishes with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
10.  Once the stock is cooled to room temperature, refrigerate it overnight.  Do not freeze.
Directions:  Day 2
1.  Boil a carrot for 15 minutes, cool and slice.  Slice hardboiled eggs crosswise.
2.  Remove the stock from the refrigerator (it should have solidified by this point). Scrape off the fat from the top and discard.
3.  Gently rewarm the stock only to the point where it has liquified.  Do not allow it to become hot.
4.  Remove the molds or dishes with the meat from the refrigerator and unwrap them.  Ladle the stock over the meat slowly, until it covers the solids by about 1 inch. Add egg and carrot slices, as well as whole parsley leaves to the top.*  Allow the holodetz to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for 6-8 hours or until completely solidified.
Directions:  Finish
1.  To serve, cut into square portions and arrange on a platter.  Decorate with dill fronds and parsley leaves.
2.  Serve with pickled horseradish and spicy mustard.
*If you are using soft molds and plan to turn out the kholodetz on a serving platter, then the egg and carrot slices and the parsley leaves need to be added to the bottom of the molds, with the meat packed on top.
Q&A
Q: I don’t eat pork.  Any ideas?
A:  Yes.  Replace pig trotters with ox tails.
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