Growing up my Mother (kih) and Bubbie (a”h) used to make this fish every year from scratch. I’ve updated it a little from their recipe. It’s important to season to taste!
- 3 pounds fish, ground (any firm-fleshed fish, whitefish, pike, carp/trout), reserve the bones
- 2 medium sweet onions, quartered
- 3 carrots, cut into 2” pieces
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons matzo meal (regular or gluten free)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup ice water
- FOR THE STOCK
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup sugar (optional)
- 3 large carrots cut into 1/4 inch discs
- 1 large onion, cut into fourths
- reserved fish bones
- 3 quarts water
- additional salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE STOCK
- Place the bones in mesh bags (to avoid having any bones in the fish).
- In a large stock pot, add the water, fish bones, salt, pepper, sugar, carrots, and onion. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Continue to simmer while preparing the fish.
FOR THE FISH
- Place the fish in a large bowl.
- Grind the onions in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the onions to the fish. Without cleaning the processor bowl, grind the carrots until coarsely ground. Add to the fish and onions.
- Mix in the black pepper, salt, sugar, matzo meal and eggs. If the mixture seems dry, add up to 1/2 cup ice water. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop out fish mixture then shape into “football” shaped fish portions. Place each piece of shaped fish into the prepared stock.
- Bring the fish to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low. Lightly cover the pot, leaving a steam vent. Cook the fish for 1 1/2 hours, then taste a cooked piece to determine if additional seasoning is required in the stock. Add necessary seasoning, then cook fish for an additional 1/2 hour.
- Remove fish, carrots and onions from the stock, and place in a large container or aluminum pans. Continue to simmer the stock until it is reduced by half. Pour the remaining stock over the fish.
- Allow the fish to cool, then refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Serve the chilled fish garnished with lettuce and fish carrots.
- Gefilte Fish in German/Yiddish means “filled fish” or stuffed fish. The fish flesh and bones used to be removed from the fish, leaving the outer “skin” of the fish. Once the fish was chopped with additional ingredients, the fish skin was re-stuffed with the chopped fish. Gefilte. Fish. It was then placed in the a deep pot with vegetables & water, and cooked with the removed head and bones. Yup. The fish head. Yum!