At every point in a career you have something that you’re most proud of, a website, a song; in this case, a recipe. At one point in time it was my ribs then it was an asian kale salad and now in this moment its this pot pie and its all because of the bone marrow crust. Groundbreaking? Probably not, but I love it because its all mine and it makes me feel pretty damn creative and awesome. The reality is that all I did was sub out the fat of butter and or shortening with the fat of bone marrow, but to me, it seems huge and I’m going to revel in it for a while. The texture of this crust crisp yet flaky and the flavor is great! Herbal and intense. Are you going to serve this to your guests and have them say “Hey! This crust tastes like meat!” – no but there is a marked difference in flavor between its flavor and a traditional one, savory undertones that you just can’t get with butter or shortening. The filling is also pretty unique and can be used a great stand alone stew served over rice or wide egg noodles. The mixture of the rich and better flavors from the Guinness are calmed down and balanced by addition of the apple. I know it sounds strange but just trust me on this. Have I let you astray yet?
Musical Pairing: Deicide – Stench of Redemption. This album is awesome and inspiring – and lets face it bone marrow? Meat? Yeah Deicide fits well with that. In metal you find that a lot of bands put out their best work very early on in their careers and as an aging metal head, this is outright disappointing. This album proves that even very late in a death metal band’s career they can put out material that is pushes the boundaries of their own art and rivals the classic albums they put out early in their career. To put it simply, it gives me hope even that as I get older, my creativity doesn’t have to suffer.
1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lbs Stew Meat (you can do boneless short ribs too)
1/4 C Flour
1/2 TSP Kosher Salt
1/4 TSP Black Pepper
2 TBL Unsalted Butter
2 C plus 1/2 C Guinness or other Stout
1 C Beef Stock
2 Small or 1 Large Carrot(s)
2 Celery Stalks
5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
6 Fresh Sage Leaves
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
1 Granny Smith Apple
2 Med Onions
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Plum Tomato
4-5 Oz Baby Bella Mushrooms (most come in 8-10oz packages – just eye ball half)
1/2 C Thawed Peas (I like the little ones)
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Mix the flour salt, pepper and cayenne in a bowl and coat the meat with the flour. Over medium high heat melt 2 TBL of the butter in a dutch oven or other braising vessel. Add the meat and brown on all sides, do this in batches if you have to. Remove the meat, I usually just put it back in the bowl I used for the flower mixture.
In the same pan, add 2C Guinness and 1 C Beef stock. Use a spatula to get all the bits of fond off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil.
Peel and chop the carrot(s) into 1/2″ chunks. Cut the celery into 1″ chunks. Peel and core the apple and cut into large pieces. Cut one of the onions into 8ths. Cut the tomato into large peices. Add all these plus the fresh herbs to the liquid and return to a boil. Cover and put in the 250 degree oven for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Check on this every hour and stir it. After 2 1/2 hours test the meat, it should easily smush apart with the flat side of a fork, cook until you reach this point.
Now that the meat is done, I like to let it rest and I meant really rest. 2 days, yes I said two days, in the fridge will yeild the best tasting stew/pot pit filling you’ve ever had. Will it be good right out of the oven? Yes! Will it be good after a day in the fridge? Hell yes! Will it be even better two days later? Yeah, it will. Two days is the optimal amount of time for braised meat to sit in its own liquids and reabsorb them for the best flavor and moisture (I learned that in Lucky Peach Magazine, you should subscribe to it).
After the stew has rested, the fat will have solidified on the top remove all this fat and set aside. Pick out the meat and carrots, set aside as well. Put the remaining braising liquid (or paste since its cold) and veggies in a pan or a pot over medium head until its is viscous again. Pass this through a fine mesh strainer, using a scraper or spatula force as much of the veggies through for a thicker sauce. Put the sauce back in your pan and reduce by half.
Slice the mushrooms into 1/8″ pieces then slice those in half. In a frying pan over medium high heat add a spoonful of the fat you skimmed off the meat, once its melted add the mushrooms and saute for about 4 minutes. Once almost done add a 1/2 cup of Guinness and stir and cook until the beer has been absorbed and evaporated. Add the mushrooms along with 1/2 a cup of the thawed peas to the meat and stir well.
If you’re just making stew, you’re ready, done, go eat enjoy. If you’re in for the long haul, continue on for the bone marrow crust recipe.
Marrow from 2 4″ marrow bones
2 Fresh Sage Leaves
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
Dash of paprika
1/2 C Grated Gruyère
Since we can’t know how much marrow you really have, you’re going to need a scale for this. We’re using a 3:2:1 ratio of flour : fat : water for the dough (don’t go adding the water right away though, stay with me).
To remove the marrow from the bones, soak them in hot tap water for 2 or three minutes, this should help loosen the marrow from the bones. Examine the opening of the bones to determine the smaller opening. Using your thumbs, push in on the marrow through the smaller opening. The marrow should go down and start coming out of the other end. If it does not take a thin knife and slide it down between the marrow and the bone in a few spots and try forcing the marrow out again and it should come out easily.
Weigh the extracted marrow, half that number and you have the water you should need, measure the water out and set aside, multiply that number by three and you have the weight of the flour we will need. If you have 6oz of marrow, you’re going to need 3oz of ice water and 9oz of flour.
Cut the marrow into 1/2″ pieces then place in a food processor, with the spices and herbs. Process for about 30 seconds or until the marrow is almost pea sized. Add the flour and process untill it looks like large granular sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add half the water, mix with a spatula (after its somewhat combined, I always end up using my hands). Only add enough water to get a regular dough consistency, it might be less than the measured out amount, it might be more. Form the dough into a disk about 2″ thick, it doesn’t have to be pretty, wrap in cling wrap and put in the fridge to rest for at least a half hour.
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Get the bowls you will be using for your pot pies (I used souffle ramekins) fill them to the top with your stew. Roll out the dough to about an 1/8″ thick. Cut the dough to fit you baking vessels. I recommend making it about 3/4″ larger than needs to you can crimp and fold and keep them from looking like garbage. Place your crusted pies on a backing sheet.
Whisk the egg and brush over the top of each pie then sprinkle with the Gruyère. Take a knife and put a few slits in the crust to vent the steam. It doesn’t have to be decorative and pretty, you’ll never see them.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. If 35 minutes has passed and your crusts still look underdone, press on them with your finger. If they seem too soft still, switch the over to broil for a few minutes to finish them off. If you do this, just keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.