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Easy Gefilte Fish

Gefilte fish, or poached fish dumplings, is a familiar dish of the Jewish kitchen because of its wide availability in jars. Homemade gefilte fish is far superior, and it’s a standard on many holiday tables. Most cooks serve it cold and top each portion with a dab of red horseradish, its preferred partner.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 to 9 servings

Keeping kosher: Pareve

1 pound fish bones, heads and tails

3 onions

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

6 parsley stems, leaves removed

6 cups water

1 1/2 pounds whitefish fillets

3/4 pound cod or halibut fillets

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 small carrot

3 tablespoons matzo meal

2 large carrots

Lettuce leaves

1 jar horseradish prepared with beets

  1. Put fish bones, heads, and tails in a large bowl in the sink and rinse them under cold running water for 3 minutes.

  2. Place the rinsed fish pieces in a large saucepan.

  3. Chop 1 onion.

  4. Add the onion, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and water to saucepan and bring to a boil.

    Skim off foam when it accumulates on the surface of the stock.

  5. Simmer uncovered over low heat, skimming occasionally, 20 minutes.

  6. Strain into a bowl and set aside.

  7. Remove any bones from the fish fillets.

  8. Cut the fish into 2-inch chunks.

  9. In a food processor, grind half the fish until very fine.

  10. Finely chop the remaining 2 onions.

  11. Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and half the chopped onions.

  12. Process until well blended.

  13. Transfer to a large bowl.

  14. Put the remaining fish, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and onion in the processor and process until well blended.

  15. Add this mixture to the first batch and mix with a wooden spoon.

  16. Peel and grate the 1/2 of a small carrot.

  17. Stir the grated carrot and matzo meal into the bowl.

  18. Bring the fish stock to a simmer in a large pot or deep saucepan.

  19. Peel and slice the large carrots.

  20. Add the carrots to the stock.

  21. Season to taste with salt.

  22. With moist hands, take 1/3 cup fish mixture and roll it in your palms to a smooth ball.

  23. Repeat Step 24 with the remaining mixture.

    Be sure to moisten your hands each time.

  24. Carefully drop the fish balls into the simmering stock.

  25. If they are not covered with liquid, carefully pour in enough hot water to barely cover them.

    Pour it near the edge of the pan, not over the fish balls.

  26. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for 1 hour.

  27. Remove from heat and cool the fish balls in their stock.

  28. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the fish balls to containers for refrigerating.

  29. Gently pour the stock with the carrots over the fish.

  30. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

  31. Serve two fish balls on a lettuce leaf per person and top each fish ball with a carrot slice from the stock.

  32. Serve the horseradish separately.

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