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ASPIC (AS-pik)

Savory jelly used as a mold for meats or vegetables
Common clues: Meat jelly; Cold mold; Gelatin garnish; Butcher's jelly; Savory jelly; Jellied side dishes; Canned ham glaze
Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year
Frequency in English language: 53518 / 86800
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Aspic is a dish in which ingredients are set into a gelatine, jelly-like substance made from a meat stock or consommé.

When cooled, stock 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: beef, veal, chicken, or even fish. The aspic may need additional gelatin in order to set properly. Veal stock provides a great deal of gelatin, the meat that makes the stock is often cooked with veal for that reason. Fish consommés usually have too little natural gelatine, 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 will be more delicate and will melt more readily in the mouth.

Historically meat jellies were made before fruit and vegetable jellies. By the Middle Ages at the latest, cooks had discovered that a thickened meat broth could be made into a jelly and could coat cooked meat to keep it from spoiling by sealing in from the air. A detailed recipe for aspic is found in Le Viandier, written in around 1375.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aspic".