Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gefilte Fish

I am finally ready to blog about this experience.

Making gefilte fish is traumatic.
Well at least it was for me-- the drama queen!
This recipe tasted much more fresh and yummy than the jarred/doctored gefilte fish- but I like that stuff well enough not to need to make mine fresh every year.

So now onto my traumatic experience:
First- I had to special order my fish (pike, whitefish and carp are no longer regularly stocked in supermarkets), and so I ordered it from a local fish store that is located in a very rich part of town (read: fish would be overly expensive: like $80 for 3lbs of ground fish).

I am sure you are all asking yourselves the same question: why did she do this?!

The whole reason I was doing this was to use my new-to-me-family-heirloom meat grinder that I inherited from my Bubby and Pop-pop who used it to make their own gefilte fish back in the day- but as I was on the phone with the fish monger-- he clearly noted my inexperience with fish meat preparation and suggested that I have them prep it for me. I gladly conceded. But now with my whole justification for this adventure gone, I just had to get on board that this was an experience- all Jews should make their own gefilte fish once in their lives**, right???

So I picked up my fish meat and went home for the cooking marathon, day 2. TE was traveling for work so I had the house to my self... which was a good thing considering the chaos/stench that was about to unfold.

Armed with my recipe in hand, I got ready to dig into another night of playing with raw meat with my hands... ugh.

Gefilte Fish
Made 15 pieces
160 calories per piece
  • 7 to 7 1/2 pounds whole carp, whitefish, and pike, filleted and ground*
  • 4 quarts cold water or to just cover
  • 3 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • 3 onions, peeled
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 1 small parsnip, chopped (optional)
  • 3 to 4 large eggs
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste 1/2 cup cold water (approximately)
  • 1/3 cup matzah meal (approximately)
*Ask your fishmonger to grind the fish. Ask him to reserve the tails, fins, heads, and bones. Be sure he gives you the bones and trimmings. The more whitefish you add, the softer your gefilte fish will be.


1. Add fish stock (4c) and 4c of water to stock pot

2. Slice 1 onion in rounds and add along with 3 of the carrots. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes while the fish mixture is being prepared.

3. Place the ground fish in a bowl. In a food processor finely chop the remaining onions and the remaining carrot. Add the chopped vegetables to the ground fish.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, the remaining teaspoon of salt, pepper, and the cold water, and mix thoroughly. Stir in enough matzah meal to make a light, soft mixture into oval shapes, about 3 inches long.

5. Remove from the saucepan the onions, skins, and return the stock to a simmer. Gently place the fish patties in the simmering fish stock. Cover loosely and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste the liquid while the fish is cooking and add seasoning to taste. Shake the pot periodically so the fish patties won't stick. When gefilte fish is cooked, remove from the water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

6. Using a slotted spoon carefully remove the gefilte fish and arrange in a 9x13 baking dish on top of sliced onions (skins on) and carrots. Season generously with salt and pepper.

7. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

8. Remove from oven, allow to cool and place into a sealed container.

9. Eat gefilte fish cold served with hard boiled eggs and horseradish

**I will never do this again. My apartment smelled so so bad for about a week- they do not warn you ahead of time about that fact. Here is your warning. Do this if only if you live in a place where you can keep your doors/windows open for 3-4 days after the fact.


Rachel said...

Duuuuude. That is gross.

But now you can say you've done it! :)

Melanie said...

it might have been gross to make- but it was awesome to eat:)

Jenn said...

Congratulations on sticking it out and completing the recipe! For the rest of your life you will appreciate that dish 100% more than ever did!