When cooled, stock that is made from meat congeals because of the natural gelatin found in the meat. The stock can be clarified with egg whites, and then filled and flavored just before the aspic sets. Almost any type of food can be set into aspics. Most common are meat pieces, fruits, or vegetables. Aspics are usually served on cold plates so that the gel will not melt before being eaten. A meat jelly that includes cream is called a chaud-froid.
Nearly any type of meat can be used to make the gelatin: pork, beef, veal, chicken, turkey, or fish. The aspic may need additional gelatin in order to set properly. Veal stock provides a great deal of gelatin; in making stock, veal is often included with other meat for that reason. Fish consommés usually have too little natural gelatin, so the fish stock may be double-cooked or supplemented. Since fish gelatin melts at a lower temperature than gelatins of other meats, fish aspic is more delicate and melts more readily in the mouth.
In central, eastern and northern Europe, aspic often takes the form of pork jelly, and it is popular around the Christmas and Easter Holidays. Among the Newars of Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, buffalo meat jelly is a major component of the winter festivity gourmet. It is eaten in combination with fish aspic, which is made from dried fish and buffalo meat stock, soured, and contains a heavy mix of spices and condiments.
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