Petchah (Calf's Foot Jelly)

"This is a recipe for a traditional aspic made from Calves feet. It is an old Ashkenazic recipe that speaks of past days. It is a recipe from the days when meager incomes and impoverished living conditions made it necessary to avoid wasting anything of nutritive value. The texture of the finished product is something that will no doubt polarize the RecipeZaar community (you either love the springiness and jell texture or you don't) and the flavors are assertive. It is not for the faint at heart. This recipe is provided for those who enjoy Petchah, are gastronomically daring, or who are interested in it from a cultural or historical perspective. The author makes no apologies. However, this is a traditional rendition of this dish and remains faithful to its humble Eastern European roots. Enjoy."
photo by Joseph S. photo by Joseph S.
photo by Joseph S.
Ready In:
1 tray




  • Thoroughly rinse calves feet with water and place in a stockpot with enough water to cover.
  • Bring the vessel to a boil and remove any scum that appears on the top.
  • Drain the calves feet and cover again with a change of cold water. Bring to a boil again.
  • Lower the burner to the lowest setting possible. Add the diced carrot and onion, salt and pepper. Cook on the lowest possible heat for a minimum of six hours, preferably overnight until any adherent meat, cartilage, tendons and ligaments separate easily from the bones.
  • Reserve everything but the bones and discard the bones. Taste the broth and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Chop the meat, cartilage, softened tendons and ligaments into small pieces (being careful not to miss any bone fragments and to use only those pieces that can be easily cut with the knife) and mix with minced garlic. Alternatively, take the larger pieces and put with cloves into a food processor and process until well incorporated and a ball of lumpy paste is present in the food processor.
  • Place the sliced eggs neatly in the bottom of a rectangular glass or enameled baking dish.
  • Over the eggs, evenly distribute the meat/garlic mixture.
  • Over this, pour the broth including the onions and carrots. Depth of the broth should be no less than one inch though an inch and a half is ideal.
  • Allow mixture to cool on the counter or stove top briefly and then place on a shelf in refrigerator to sit, undisturbed, until the mixture solidifies. Any fat coming to the top of the mixture may be removed by skimming with the edge of a knife after mixture gels firmly.
  • Following solification, the mixture should be cut into squares. It is served cold as an appetizer or as a cool snack. Garnish with a slice of lemon wedge which may be squeezed over the aspic for additional flavor.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Rivka W.
    I would like to know how long does this dish take to solidify or gel. I made it followed instructions and it even tastes good but can't cut it! Would love to know if I did something wrong
  2. Madeleine O.
    There was no broth left, so should I use hot water instead?


  1. trucker V.
    Why are people saying this is gross and revolting? Ok so it has pig feet. What's wrong with that? No different than ham hock or chicken necks etc.... It's great to add flavor. Not a ton of meat on them but that's not the point. Tendon is awesome. I get tendon in my pho all the time. Great flavor. People are just weird and afraid to try anything other than their boring normal but this dish is definitely not disgusting. I'm not a fan of hard boiled egg so I leave that out but this is a tasty dish.
  2. Joseph S.
    Excellent. I followed it to the letter and it came out just perfect.
  3. Madeleine O.
    When there was no broth left after cooking, I added more water before refrigerating. It turned out great. A few of the pieces were too hard to chew, so I probably didnt cook it long enough. I cooked it about 7 hours. I made a lot so I was thinking of freezing some. Does anyone know if freezing it will turn out OK?
  4. pam_fleming
    I think I found this food in my local small kosher food store. They call it Beef Galereta. Is that the same thing? Ingredients: Beef Bones, water, garlic, spices, salt. Very garlicky Beef gelatin. Tasty -if you love garlic, as I do! They say its very healthy. I am wondering the caloric content?
  5. Norman R.
    My mother was from Latvia so we called it Putza; Dad was from Polesie in eastern Poland and he called it Putcha. In any case it was the most revolting thing I was ever forced to eat! It is the same as the Russian Holodetz only not made with pigs feet.


  1. shurzaro
    Just don't make this


I am a health professional who lives in Florida with my wife and three boys. My taste in foods and cuisines is quite broad and I appreciate both traditional and eclectic foods. Obvious influences include my own Ashkenazic Jewish background as well as my wife's Greek-Turkish Sephardic Jewish background, but I frequently enjoy so-called "Floribbean" cuisine" and forays into French, Italian, North African, Middle Eastern and Eastern cuisines. My middle son and I love to fish and in South Florida, the variety of fish available is unparalleled. God's bounty of food sustains us and restores us. Preparing foods provides us with a sense of connection to a place, a history or to a culture. Spending time in the kitchen or at the table with family allows us time to get away from the madness of our harried professional lives and provides a comforting and soothing time to reflect on ourselves and reconnect with those people and things that are most important and dear to us. I love to pick out microingredients in a recipe and stun people when I tell them I can taste it. Passions include cooking and the ethnology and history of food and the people behind it, family, music, contract bridge and fishing. Pet peeves include rushed meals, overcooked vegetables and the culture that places more emphasis on speed and numbers than on quality.
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