Authentic Polish Gefilte Fish with Beet Chrein by Ksenia Prints|@immigrantstable

 

Homemade Polish gefilte fish with beet chrein are a sweet-and-sour treat that will change the way you think about traditional Jewish food. Care, good ingredients and attention to detail make this a dish worth savouring!

Authentic Polish Gefilte Fish with Beet Chrein
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. Chrein (horseradish-beet sauce)
  2. 7 oz raw horseradish
  3. 5 oz raw beets
  4. 1/2 TB sugar
  5. 1/2 TB salt
  6. 1/2 cup vinegar
  7. Fish broth
  8. 1 fish head and bones when buying your fish, ask the fish monger to keep the head and bones in a bag for you; if you’re filleting and cleaning your own fish, make sure to keep the head and bones
  9. 1 carrot peeled and sliced into rounds
  10. 1 onion quartered
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 5 whole peppercorns
  13. 5 whole allspice berries
  14. One parsley stem
  15. 1 beet peeled and quartered (optional; my Ukrainian grandmother does this, but it takes the recipe in a decidedly non-Polish direction. However, this will give your gefilte fish an appealing pinkish hue)
  16. Water
  17. Polish gefilte fish
  18. 1 kg carp ground
  19. 700 g whitefish ground (pickerel or rockfish, cod and haddock are also acceptable replacements)
  20. 1 onion chopped finely (you may fry your onion first for additional flavor; if doing this, take care not to brown onion)
  21. ½ cup matzo meal. Gluten free alternative – replace this with GF matzo meal or omit altogether.
  22. 2 TB sugar
  23. 4 tsps salt
  24. 2 tsps pepper
  25. 2 TBs sunflower oil
  26. 1 egg
  27. Large lettuce or kale leaves for presentation
Chrein (horseradish-beet sauce)
  1. Peel beets and horseradish, and soak them in cold water for an hour (this saves you the hassle of cooking the beets).
  2. Drain well, and grate using a box grater or a food processor fitted with a fine grating disc.
  3. In a bowl, mix with sugar, salt and vinegar, taking care to incorporate all ingredients completely.
  4. Transfer to a jar, cover with lid and let rest for at least two hours before serving (chrein keeps well in the refrigerator, only getting better with time).
Fish broth
  1. Wrap fish head and bones in a cheesecloth pouch (cut a large square of cheesecloth, wrap fish head and bones in it, and tie together with kitchen twine).
  2. Add sliced carrots, onions, bay leaf, peppercorns, allspice berries, parsley stem and beets (if using) to pot. Add enough water to cover ingredients.
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and continue simmering for 30 minutes, until carrots can be easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Polish gefilte fish – best to do this while your fish broth is cooking
  5. Combine all gefilte fish ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well with a wooden spoon or your hands until well combined.
  6. Wet the palms of your hands and form oval shaped patties the size of a golf ball.
  7. Place gefilte fish balls into fish broth; add enough water to ensure gefilte fish are submerged fully.
  8. Simmer over a low flame slowly for 1.5 hours. Carefully remove all the patties and carrot slices from the broth. Set aside to cool.
  9. OPTIONAL: After the fish has been removed, strain off the cooking liquid. This stock will jell when chilled, providing a traditional sauce to serve with the gefilte fish.
  10. To serve gefilte fish, arrange lettuce or kale leaves on a large platter. Carefully place gefilte fish patties on top of the greens. Top each patty with one of the cooked sliced carrots, and a dollop of chrein. Serve with more chrein on the side.
Notes
  1. If you cannot find a fishmonger who will grind the fish into burger meat for you, you can process it yourself in a food processor or a meat grinder. However, please take care to take out all the bones before doing so – and save them for the fish broth
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Ksenia Prints is a Russian-Israeli food blogger based out of Montreal. She spends her nights cooking, writing and photographing food for At the Immigrant’s Table and other freelance publications. Her cooking and writing are a mélange of cultures and traditions that somehow turn out well. Ksenia and her work can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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