Aspiki or muzhuzhi
60+ Min
Light dish
201-500 Kcal

First of all I want to stress that this dish is coming from Georgia and is already counting at least 3 centuries of existence. In Russia it came from France and like everything French, 19th century Russian high society took it enthusiastically and made it its own.

The basis of this dish is collagen extracted from animal bones and tissues. Hydrolyze turns it into condensing gelatin. To leave the biochemistry aside, condensation can be done with simply boiling bony meat hard. Add some aromatic ingredients to the broth and voila - you get a nice jelly including all those pleasant tastes and scents, that a delicious soup has, but in a way comfortable form for eating.

40 40 gr. Gelatine sheet
600 600 gr. bony young pigs
10 10 gr. Black peppercorn
250 250 gr. Carrot
250 250 gr. Onion
120 120 gr. Celery
80 80 gr. Parsley
3 3 gr. Red pepper
5 5 Eggs
10 10 gr. dried plum
7 7 gr. Barberry
step 1
Our Aspic won't be Russian Kholodets, but a refined culinary masterpiece, so let's don't use leftover meat, ears, snout and skinless bones. With the whole respect to the centuries old recipe, take a good piece of a young pig, like back gammon or the whole skeleton with its meat. Strip off the pig, place the meat in the oven on 220C and roast it. Chemical process of roasting will give it some fantastic aroma. Drop your onions and carrots in the oven next to the meat.
step 2
Throw the roasted meat, onions and carrots (keep one carrot for the later), 3 leaves of laurel, 12-15 black peppercorn, celery stems (keep 3-4 stems for the later), the whole bunch of parsley, half chili pepper and a table spoon of salt. Boil all of these for 2-3 hours and add some water time after time. Before condensing, bring your well-kept carrot and cut into thin layers, also, cut the dried plum and make the naturally thin barberry even thinner (do not use Sumac, as it will make the dish bitter rather than sour).
step 3
Dissolve gelatin sheets into your warm broth (it shouldn't burn your finger) thoroughly, stir well and pour down into the form. Cover with saran wrap and keep in the fridge. In the best case it should stay still for 12 hours. If you can't wait this much, just use freezer, but no more than 4 hours. Otherwise, water left uncondensed by the gelatin will crystallize and turn into an unpleasant texture.

How To Serve

Dense structure of the gelatin will help to remove the Aspic from its form easily. Traditionally it's eaten garnished with grated horse-radish or mustard. It goes well with hard alcoholic beverages, like birch or citrus vodka.

Useful Tips

You can use all types of meat in this dish, however, consider that in case of mutton you'll need some cardamom and clove, while you have to get more carrot in case of cooking it with chicken. Beef will taste perfect with adding white dry wine in the broth, while pork will need a company of some dark sweet beer while boiling.