Pork aspic (Galerts)

Galerts (meat aspic) on a white dish

Recipe #20 in my 1920ies cookbook “Vārīšanas un cepšanas māksla” is Suckling Pig Aspic (Sivēna galerts). The original recipe leaves a lot of room for imagination: “Take 5 pounds from the front end of the suckling pig, dice, wash and place in cold water. Water should just cover the meat; add necessary salt, pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1 celery and 10 allspice berries. Boil aspic on a low flame until meat is tender. Bowls or moulds for aspic need to be wet and laid with carrot roses and parsley leaves. Place the meat in the mould skin side down, then strain the soup through a sieve. Then strain the soup through a linen cloth and pour over the meat. Place in a cold spot to set. Tip the bowls over and serve with mustard and vinegar.

I have made galerts a few times and, unless you literally chop up half a piglet – head, bones and all, meat just won’t set without the addition of gelatine. The other issue was the availability of suckling pig. So I took the liberty of replacing the meat with pork trotters and meaty bones and adding more aromatics to the soup. I can’t say galerts is high on my favourites list, however, this was the best I’ve ever had (sorry, omamm).

Aspic (Galerts)

Aspic (Galerts)


  • 2 pig’s trotters
  • 1kg (2lbs) meaty pork bones
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 10 allspice berries
  • Horseradish, mustard or vinegar to serve


  1. Place the trotters and the bones in a large stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for couple minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, discard the water and rinse the pot. Return the meat to the pot, add carrot, peeled onion, bay leaves, garlic and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours. The liquid will reduce in volume significantly and start to thicken.
  3. Strain and reserve the liquid, season it well – it needs to taste a little too salty.
  4. Pick all the meat off the bones and chop in bite-size pieces.
  5. Place the meat in small bowls. You can place boiled carrots and green peas at the bottom of the bowl for a splash of colour. Pour over reserved cooking liquid.
  6. Place the bowls in the fridge and let them settle overnight.
  7. When ready to serve, place a serving plate on top of the bowl and flip it over. Serve with horseradish, mustard or vinegar.


If you are not convinced your galerts will set, add some gelatin to the stock after it has been strained (follow packet instructions).


1 Comment

  1. […] tasty treat is the most popular dish in the Jiangnan region of China. To make a rich pork aspic, a pork aspic recipe must include collagen/gelatin-rich pork skin and neck bones. Soup dumplings are an excellent […]


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