gefilte fish--can I freeze it?
I need to make a batch of gefilte fish for an early seder this weekend, and then I need another batch to serve the following weekend. It would be great if I didn't have to make it twice, but could make it all this Friday and then use some Saturday, and freeze the rest to use the following Saturday. But I want it to taste as great as it always does when it is freshly made. Do you think it will?
PS A related question: all the recipes I see have you cook the balls for HOURS. Each year I try cooking it for less and less time, and it still tastes great. Is there any reason you have to cook it for more than just enough time for the balls to be cooked through?
Jayne Cohen's wonderful cookbook The Gefilte Variations advises cooking the BROTH for at least an hour, and the gefilte fish itself for only a half-hour.
The result is very flavorfull, very light fish - far better results than with longer cooking times. (Her fish balls are on the large size, 1/3 - 1/2 cup raw fish each. With smaller fish balls, 20 minutes would probably do, as suggested by another poster.)
She also recommends parsnips in the broth & saffron in the fish. Heavenly.
I have been making my own gefilte fish for years. How long you cook it depends on how large the patties are and how hot the water heat is. In my mind, it is like making meatballs - but with fish. Just as most meatballs cook within 30 minutes, so do most gefilte fish patties. But if you make them very large or you add a lot of filler, then they will take longer. Because they are fish, I don't boil them, I simmer them and they take closer to 40 minutes. Also, if there is a lot of fish in the pot and not a lot of broth, its going to take a bit longer. I think that gefilte fish patties used to be made much larger, and rounder, and also with a high ratio of fish to broth in the cooking pot. That would mean cooking longer. Finally, perhaps in the old days, fish had more parasites or something and it was healthier to cook it much longer.
BTW, I like to cook them with a lot of fish broth. Then, I reduce it, and cook some broken up matzos in it. I serve it warm with the fish (which is room temp), really delicious.
Just out of curiousity, I emailed Joan Nathan herself with my 2 questions. Her reply:
"Cook and freeze. I believe it works well although I have never done it. I now cook my gefilte fish for about 20 minutes and it is delicious."
paprkutr, maybe you should send her your canning jar idea!!
At what heat do you cook yours? My recipe says to cook for 1 hour at a slow boil without uncovering. I always seem to have trouble maintaining a slow boil and end up frequently adjusting the temperature. Would love to just leave it alone for less time and feel confident that they are cooked through.
I make my own gefilte fish. Just tried the frozen logs, and hubby didn't like it.
Now to you question. What I do is make your fish as you do, then while it is still hot, I put it in wide mouth canning jars, fill with broth, carrots and onions., then fill to top with broth. Put the lid on, tighten, and turn upside down to cool for about an hour. Then refrigerate. What happens is that is makes a seal and it lasts a couple of weeks in the fridge. I have been doing this for years. I also have frozen fish in the jars for months, defrost, and then I reheat to a boil and cool, then serve.