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What is Jellied Beef Loaf?

Jellied Beef Loaf is a vintage dish, reminiscent of mid-20th-century cuisine. It combines seasoned ground beef and gelatin to create a sliceable loaf, often enjoyed cold. This retro recipe offers a unique blend of savory meat with a gel-like consistency. Curious about how this classic fares on modern tables? Discover its history and potential for a culinary comeback in our full exploration.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Jellied beef loaf is a meat product made with shredded beef which has been mixed with gelatin, poured into a mold, and allowed to set. Typically it is served cold, for example at a brunch with an assortment of other cold prepared foods. For serving, the jellied beef loaf is unmolded, making it easy for people to slice wedges off and top them with assorted condiments. This specialty food item is sometimes available at delicatessens, and it can also be made at home.

This dish is one among a large family of dishes made by mixing various ingredients with gelatin or aspic and allowing them to set. These dishes were immensely popular during the 1950's, as many period cookbooks can attest, although their popularity has since waned in favor of less elaborate preparations of food. Despite being less well known than it once was, jellied beef loaf occasionally crops up at parties and dinners in various regions of the world, along with an assortment of other molded and chilled dishes.

A whisk may be helpful in making beef loaf.
A whisk may be helpful in making beef loaf.

The flavor of jellied beef loaf can vary widely, depending on the taste of the cook. Some cooks like to mix cooked vegetables in with the cooked and shredded beef, for example, to make the dish less heavy. It can also be flavored with fresh herbs and spices, and some cooks even make it spicy with the addition of peppers. The dish can be served with an assortment of condiments like mint jelly, mustard, relish, chutney, cranberry sauce, and so forth.

Mint jelly is a common condiments to jelly beef loaf.
Mint jelly is a common condiments to jelly beef loaf.

To make beef loaf, you need cooked and shredded beef. You may be able to obtain this from a local deli, or you can make it at home; a slow cooked beef roast is often ideal for this purpose. If you wish to add vegetables, cook and shred or finely chop them, and mix them with the beef and any desired spices. Meanwhile, dissolve some gelatin in cold water and then whisk it into a pot of beef stock, allowing the mixture to cook until it starts to firm. Mix the stock with the beef, and pour the mixture into a loaf mold of choice to set and chill before serving. Keep jellied beef loaf cool up until the point you plan to serve it, and refrigerate it promptly after serving to reduce the risk of food borne illness.

Jellied beef loaf is made with either gelatin or aspic.
Jellied beef loaf is made with either gelatin or aspic.

As a general rule, for every two cups of meat and vegetables, you will need two cups of stock and one and one half tablespoons of gelatin. You can also pour the mixture into small molds, if you wish to make individually molded jellied beef loaves in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Lostnfound

I ran across a recipe for this stuff in one of my mom's old cookbooks. I asked her if she ever made it and she said, "Are you kidding? Nobody ever made that! Or at least nobody I ever knew!"

We are from the South, and her considered opinion was that Yankee women must make that sort of thing. it certainly was never popular around here. Gelatin fruit salad? Those appeared everywhere. That other stuff? Not hardly.

Grivusangel

The very idea of jellied beef nauseates me. Of course, I'm not an aspic fan, to start with. Savory gelatin? Eeeewww.

These kinds of recipes didn't fall out of favor because they were labor intensive to prepare. They fell out of favor because they were nasty! People made them more to show off their skills than to produce something edible. They look impressive. Taste, however, is another story.

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    • A whisk may be helpful in making beef loaf.
      By: Seite23
      A whisk may be helpful in making beef loaf.
    • Mint jelly is a common condiments to jelly beef loaf.
      By: margo555
      Mint jelly is a common condiments to jelly beef loaf.
    • Jellied beef loaf is made with either gelatin or aspic.
      By: angorius
      Jellied beef loaf is made with either gelatin or aspic.