Kholodets is one of those recipes that sounds really weird, but it’s actually not too weird when you think about it: it is simply bone broth poured over shredded meat, but allowed to cool so it’s gelatinous. Then, you spoon it out and eat it with mustard or horseradish mayonnaise. Meat Jello? Yes, okay, meat jello. That sounds weird, BUT there was a time when it was quite normal to eat this gut-healing, nutrient-rich dish here in the US of A! Have you heard of aspic? Kholodets is basically the Ukrainian version of that.
One thing that I really liked about Ukraine is that a lot of the food and traditional dishes are pretty darn Paleo. So, a lot of foods take little or no adaption to make them healthy and nutrient dense. (Our ancestors were onto something…) This salad is one of those dishes! It’s called ‘herring under a fur coat’ (selyodka pod shuboi/cеледка под шубой, or simply shuba/шуба). It’s a colorful layered salad with diced herring, onion and grated boiled vegetables under a red ‘coat’ made of beets and mayonnaise. It’s customary to have this on New Year’s and Christmas, in addition to a bunch of other cold salads. So, if you are looking for something different and adventurous to try this holiday season, give this one a whirl! Or, you know, if you’re reading this in April, still make it. It’s really good. I promise. If you’re squeamish about herring, or you can’t find it, just used diced cooked chicken; it will work just as well. There are lots of variations to this salad, but this is the version that I like the best.
These are my version of Ukrainian meat patties (kotleti) which I was taught to make while I was in Ukraine. Kotleti are kind of like American burgers, but sexier. They’re moist and tender, and they are so flavorful! Everyone that I’ve made them for since I’ve been back in the States has loved them. With nearly endless combinations of meats and spices, they are versatile enough to have multiple times in the week without getting bored. (Plus, they’re ovular. And who doesn’t love that word?! Oooovular. Fantastic).
This time of year, carrots are plentiful and inexpensive, but after many batches of roast carrots and roast carrot soup, they can become a bit boring. If you are looking for something new to do with all those carrots, this carrot salad is for you!
Alisa from Paleo in PDX had an amazing chicken soup recipe recently, and it inspired me to post my chicken soup recipe that The Ukrainian taught me. This soup is a staple meal in our household, and is loved by two out of three family members*. It’s especially good this time of year when the days are short and grey and nothing sounds better than curling up on the couch with a good book and a fuzzy blanket. And if you’ve got a sickie in the house, make this for them and I’m sure they will perk up soon!