Holodets blues

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Holodets is a typical Eastern Europe recipe. It is is basically a meat aspic, the gelatin being obtained from long boiling the bones and melting the connective tissue-collagen.

I tried to do holodets using cow bones (no pig feet, that one is easier).

My problem is that I can't figure out from the recipes which bone is used. It's mentioned as "hoof", "knee", "leg bone", etc. But there is no photograph and bone names vary from place to place.

I prepared the dish but the collagen content of the bones I used was not enough, so I ended up adding agar-agar, which I know is not needed if the bones are "the correct ones".

Can anyone to help me to identify the bones? A photograph should be the optimal answer!

NB> Please feel free to correct my English

  • 1
    Do bone names really vary that much? The exact bone isn't so important- just that it contains enough collagen. Leg bones, hooves, and joints have a lot. Nov 15, 2010 at 13:29
  • @Sobachatina I just know that my first test was a failure. I used a short bone from the leg (not sure which one) but without meat ... perhaps the tendons are important. Nov 15, 2010 at 13:50
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    @Sobachatina Ok, I'll try with a femur. Just answering your comment, I cooked my bones for 5 hours and used just enough water to cover them. Nov 15, 2010 at 14:26
  • 1
    The Hungarian name for this is "kocsonya", and I've always despised the stuff. Give me the meat soup (húsleves) warm, please.
    – Marti
    Nov 15, 2010 at 14:38
  • 1
    @Marti- it was an acquired taste. Nov 15, 2010 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


The Russian lady that taught me how to make Kholodets used a chunk of femur.

She would simmer for at least 5 hours the bone with a good bit of meat still on it. As the broth cooled she would remove the meat from the bone, chop it and put it back into the pot along with a sizeable amount of sliced garlic.

After chilling in the fridge (usually overnight) she would remove the fat that accumulated on top and serve with a very khrenoviy mustard.

I'm sure that a joint would have worked just as well- it just wouldn't have as much usable meat.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures.

  • Ok. "femur" is decriptive enough :) ... Did she leave the marrow in? I think the marrow will give a dark tint to the broth ... Nov 15, 2010 at 13:46
  • She did leave the marrow it. Because of the length of the bone it would have been very difficult to get the marrow out. Nov 15, 2010 at 14:04
  • Was the cartilage still on? Nov 15, 2010 at 14:22
  • @chris yes, in fact the whole bone "cap" was on and got separated while cooking Nov 15, 2010 at 14:29
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    @Sobachatina BTW I have khren plants in my garden .... :) Nov 16, 2010 at 14:22

Not sure about Holodet. But a good source of making gelatin from meat is the knee bone with all the cartilage in it. I use it to make foot jelly (aka gala, galarita, ptcha). This is not the same as bones with marrow. AFAIK marrow is not a big source of cartilage. You do have to simmer at low heat for a long time to get the cartilage to dissolve. Don't try a rolling boil, it wont work.

  • Thank you. I already tried with the knee bone (the name here is "chiquizuela") and the results were much better. Dec 22, 2010 at 15:38

I use, like my mother teached me, some bones named "garrón"in Argentina. She was from Polland. Are the "femur" bones. I don't use meat, chicken or pig. Only the bones, vegetables and spices. I put the cartilages and tendons, with slice of eggs and "ajo" and over these the soup. It must be cold to be eaten.

  • Ajá! Y dónde lo comprás? Feb 10, 2013 at 23:59

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