Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Of Beef and Beer and Other Gelatinous Things

It's possible today's post will offend and nauseate animal-loving vegetarians.  And while I am sorry about that, I can hardly apologize for stating that Cows are amazing things.

Mostly we love cows because they are tasty between two pieces of bread or covered with a nice chasseur sauce.  Cows are also considered cute and invoke feelings of nostalgia (i.e. a return to a simpler, more pastoral life that involved really exciting county fairs).

But beef is so much more than that.


These are beef bones, which are filled with a savory, fatty substance called marrow. It's a good spread on toast, with pickles or cheese.  As you can imagine, though, it's not a terribly popular snack item.  I mean, it is a little out there.  This picture below might provide the less weirder way to utilize beef bones.


This is a beef stock I made this last weekend.  See the lovely roasted bones bobbing alongside the carrots, celery, onion?  After simmering for a bunch of hours, I got this yummy, dark broth that will be perfect for beef stew or chili.

There's a lot of collagen and fat in beef marrow, so as the fat boils down, the flavor and jelly texture is transferred to the liquid.  When I do use the beef broth, it will have cooled into a semi-solid gelatinous mass...which seems like a real nasty aspic...but have no fear, the jelly will return to its liquid state.

And speaking of jelly, this article from Splendid Table came through my inbox a few days ago: Beer Jelly.  A little confusing at first, until I realized that the author was British and what British people call 'jelly', we call 'Jell-O'.  And what we call 'jelly', they call 'jam.'

But anyway.  And once I realized I was excited about making Beer Jello, my euphoria subsided.  Was I about to make Jello Shots, for crying out loud?  Was I about to go there?  Me?! Who tries to keep things respectable and somewhat academic - was I actually contemplating making beer jello shots?

Um. Yes.  I'll own it.

I settled on a sour ale and a Belgian-style blonde ale.


And I did not cook out the beer, so the full flavor is present in each wobbly bite.  The typical alcoholic Jell-O shot tends to run sickeningly sweet, and that's where I feel I can be vindicated a little bit.  These jellies are hard to eat, really, just by themselves.  But...alongside a meat and cheese board?  With a salty meat, smooth cheese...and this fun, tasty, textured treat in the mix as well?

How uniquely tasty would that be?!  You don't have the words?!

Me either, really.  (I was searching the brain for a clever beef-beer pun, but alas).  We'll just have to settle for really cool.

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