Originally used as a frugal way to consume all the parts of an animal, aspic traditionally was prepared by boiling down bones, skin, and tendons into a jelly. More modern recipes create aspic by adding gelatin to water or soup stock. Jell-O, invented at the turn of the 20th century, can also substitute if a savory aspic is not required. Vegetarians can prepare aspic using agar as a non-meat base. Below is a basic aspic recipe created with unflavored gelatin or agar.
• 4 cups of well-seasoned broth from meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables
• 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin OR 4 tablespoons agar flakes OR
2 teaspoons agar powder
• 3 egg whites
• 2-3 cups cooked and sliced meat, eggs, or vegetables (or leftovers!)
• non-stick cooking spray
1. Chill the broth and skim off all the fat.
2. Mix 1/2 cup of broth in a saucepan with the unflavored gelatin or agar. Add the rest of the broth and the egg whites, beating the mixture until it becomes frothy.
3. Stir the mixture constantly while bringing it to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat when a thick foam appears on the top.
4. Line a sieve with a clean, damp dish cloth to strain the mixture (be sure to wring out the cloth well beforehand. Pour your heated mixture through the cloth and sieve into a bowl. Let the aspic stand until it clears.
5. Coat a decorative mold with a thin film of non-stick cooking spray oil. Pour a thin layer of the aspic into the bottom of the mold and refrigerate until the mixture has set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
6. Remove the mold from the refrigerator and scoop the chopped/sliced meat, eggs, and/or veggies onto the chilled aspic, leaving some room to cover with more aspic. Level the top of the filling, and make sure to leave room around the edges of the mold for more aspic.
7. Pour additional aspic into around the open edges and over the top of the filling. Refrigerate until set.
8. Remove the mold from the refrigerator and gently run a knife around the edges. Place the entire container in warm water for a few seconds, putting a plate on the top. Flip the mold over and lift off the pan.
9. Decorate your aspic with garnishes before slicing and serving. Keep any leftovers covered and refrigerated.