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Classic Gefilte Fish

Classic Gefilte Fish

Prep time: 30-45 mins + 30 mins refrigeration

Cook time: 2½ hours

Yield: 10-12 servings

Recipe courtesy of Avigdor Brueh, executive chef at the Hilton Tel Aviv. Every year the Hilton Tel Aviv serves some 500 guests during Rosh Hashanah. While the menu changes annually, certain dishes, like chicken soup with noodles or matzah balls and this gefilte fish, are regulars.


  • Fish Stock
  • Carp (or whitefish) head, bones and tail leftover from 3 pounds of filets
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 6-8 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • ¼-½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Gefilte Fish “Meatballs”
  • 3 pounds carp (or whitefish) fillets, bones, tail and head saved for fish stock
  • ½ cup matzah meal
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • ¼-½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of sugar


  • To make fish stock, in a large stockpot over high heat add all the ingredients, using more water if needed to cover the fish. Bring to a boil and turn down to a gentle rolling boil, cover and cook on low-medium heat for 1½ hours.
  • Meanwhile, make the gefilte fish. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and run through a grinder. Some cooks run the mixture twice through a grinder. You can also process in a food processor if you do not have a grinder. Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture rest for half an hour in the refrigerator.
  • Form medium balls from the fish mixture and slightly flatten each ball in between the palms of your hands to create the fish “meatballs.” Strain the fish stock and save the fish stock and carrots separately. Discard the fish bones, head and tail.
  • Add the gefilte fish “meatballs” to the fish stock and cook for 1 more hour in the stock. Scoop the gefilte fish out gently with a slotted spatula, and serve each gefilte fish “meatball” garnished with a slice of the cooked carrot and horseradish on the side.

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