Prep 45 mins
Cook 2 hrs 15 mins
Gefilte means "stuffed" in Yiddish and this refers to a traditional Jewish method for freshwater fish to give them more flavor. The fish was stuffed with a mixture of matzo meal, herbs and vegetables. Because freshwater fish tends to be bony, another method evolved. The fish was filleted and ground together with the above ingredients and then stuffed back into the reserved fish skin making little oval fish pouches. Today Gefilte fish is no longer stuffed; instead a combination of several kinds of fish are ground together, seasoned, made into ovals, and poached in fish stock. Among religiously observant Jews, gefilte fish has become a traditional Shabbat food since you don't have to pick the bones out of the fish, which is prohibited on the Shabbat. It is also one of the symbolic foods served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. This is an overnight dish.
- fish, trimmings (from your 4 lbs of fish fillets, heads, tails, skin, bones, etc)
- 3 onions, quartered
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into big chunks
- 2 stalks celery, sliced (leaves as well)
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 12 black peppercorns
- 1 garlic clove, unpeeled
- 2 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- onion, sliced into chunks
- 1 garlic clove
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⁄4 cup matzo meal
- 1⁄4 cup ice water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 grindings fresh black pepper
- Place the fish trimmings in a large soup pot along with the vegetables, herbs and 2 qts of water. The water should cover the trimmings. Cover, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Put the fish fillets along with the onion and garlic through a meat grinder. (a food processor or blender may be used provided you to it in small batches).
- Put the ground fish mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and then add eggs matzo meal, ice water, salt and pepper. Combine and then refrigerate.
- Strain the fish stock and remove the trimmings and vegetables. Place clear stock in a clean soup pot. Add the sugar, additional carrot, salt and pepper. Simmer gently over low heat while you form the dumplings.
- With wet hands, shape the fish mixture into egg sized dumplings and gently lower into the simmering stock. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
- Let the dumplings cool in the stock until they are room temperature. Remove to serving bowl and arrange to your liking. Scoop the carrots out of the stock and arrange over the dumplings. Pour as much fish stock over the dumplings as you wish. Chill overnight and serve with grated horseradish. The fish stock should gell overnight.