"Pitcha is a calf's foot jelly historically served during Jewish holidays. It's a cold gelled appetizer made of cooked calf's foot, garlic, onion, bay leaf, clove, peppercorns, lemon juice, and hard boiled eggs. If you can't find calf's foot, you can substitute oxtails."

Ingredients 8 h 45 m {{adjustedServings}} servings 192 cals

Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 8 servings



Amount per serving ({{servings}} total)

  • Calories:
  • 192 kcal
  • 10%
  • Fat:
  • 9.1 g
  • 14%
  • Carbs:
  • 8.3g
  • 3%
  • Protein:
  • 20.7 g
  • 41%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 115 mg
  • 38%
  • Sodium:
  • 237 mg
  • 9%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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  1. Ask your butcher to chop the calf's foot in several pieces; wash well. (If you're using oxtails, leave the pieces whole and do not remove fat or bones until later.) Place the meat in a stock pot with the bouillon cube. Tie the chopped onion, garlic, bay leaf, clove, and peppercorns into a cheesecloth bag. Add the bag to the pot and pour in water to cover. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours.
  2. Stir the gelatin into the 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside for 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl; you should have about 8 cups of broth. Discard the spice bag. Pick the meat from the bones and set it aside; discard the bones and gristle.
  3. Spray a gelatin mold with cooking spray. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to the broth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer the softened gelatin into the warm broth and stir to dissolve. Pour the liquid into the prepared mold and refrigerate. Chill the broth until the gelatin has thickened slightly, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in the reserved meat and the egg slices. Refrigerate until set, 4 hours or overnight.
  4. To unmold the pitcha, dip the gelatin mold into warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. Invert the mold onto a serving plate and serve with parsley and lemon wedges.
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Reviews 1

  1. 1 Ratings


This recipe is extremely good, but needs a few changes. First, don't put meat in a pot with water regardless of what that meat is. You must brown meat and drain the fat or it will be inedible. With the above exceptions, I made the recipe as written the first time. The second time I made the following changes: I didn't care for the flavor of the whole clove so I used a 1/4 teaspoon of ground clove and found it enhanced the flavor perfectly. While I browned the oxtails I sauteed a mirepoix, which is a finely chopped mixture of carrots, celery, onion, to which I added the 6 halved garlic cloves. I also added chopped fresh mushrooms (never canned for this dish!), Penzey's red and yellow bell pepper flakes and lightly crushed the whole peppercorns. It is not acceptable in this dish to just sprinkle it with black pepper. The changes to the flavor are not worth the convenience! Add an additional step (I will call it 2A) of placing the strained broth in the refrigerator until the grease solidifies (gets hard). An hour should be sufficient. Skim all the hardened fat off the top, leaving the strained broth. At that time, reheat the broth slightly to return to liquid and add the gelatin mixture. Why 5 Stars? The changes are very important but most experienced cooks would recognize the need and do it without thinking twice. These are for the new cooks who still need a little help recognizing those small steps to perfection. Good luck and enjoy!