Bone Marrow Poutine – AIP/Paleo/Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free

Poutine is a comfort food dish that originated in Quebec, Canada.  It consists of fries, gravy and cheese curds, and is a common fast-food dish found throughout Canada.

In honour of the week of April 18 – 25 2015 being Calgary’s Poutine Week, I decided that I was going to cook an Autoimmune Protocol version of this classic Canadian dish to share with my 2 housemates.

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I had been thinking about recreating this dish for a long time – several months at least, and Poutine Week seemed the ideal time to make it.

Of course, seeing that I am both Celiac and allergic to dairy, and I am also practicing the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), an anti-inflammatory and intestinal healing lifestyle,  I needed to make a poutine that I could also eat…  and that meant that the traditional poutine of French-fries, flour-thickened gravy and cheese curds was totally out of the question.

I decided that white (Japanese) sweet potato fries would make a perfect substitute for the (nightshade containing) french-fries.  The gravy was a fairly easy substitute to make – I made a rich onion gravy similar to my Simple Gravy recipe that was thickened with tapioca starch, and flavoured with caramelized red onion and beef bone broth.

The cheese curds were substituted with cubes of my Cauliflower and Zucchini “Cheese” that I posted about yesterday.

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This cheese tastes like a mild cheddar or processed cheese.  And while it cannot compare to the texture of the traditional “squeaky” cheese curds, it does still add that mild cheese flavour.  The heat of the sweet potato fries and the gravy melts the cheese slightly and makes it taste oh so rich….  Think of all those poutines you ate that had mozzarella and other melty mild-tasting cheese added.  That is what this one is like!

And then, “just because I could”, I added some grass-fed beef bone marrow to add extra flavour and richness.

If you don’t like the idea of eating bone marrow, you could easily leave it out, and this dish will still be good….  in fact, if you did this, and used vegetable broth in place of the bone broth and agar while making the “cheese”, this could be a vegan dish!

But if you can obtain some marrow bones, I really urge you to give this a try with the marrow included – it really does add to the flavour.  And bone marrow is very nutritious – full of “brain-feeding” healthy fats.  And really, what is more decadent than a bone marrow poutine!

The best bit about this recipe is that if you have made the “cheese” in advance, you can have it ready in under 1 hour….

Serve this next time you have friends over to watch the hockey, and you will have very happy friends!  In fact, get yourself organized and you could have this cooking during the first period, and serve it while everyone is waiting for the second period to start!  Perfect food for the Stanley Cup Playoffs!

AIP Bone Marrow Poutine

serves 2-3

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    • 2-3 medium sweet potatoes (If you use the white Japanese sweet potatoes your poutine will appear more authentic, but the ruby/orange ones work just as well)
    • 3-4 tbsp fat of choice – melted if necessary (beef tallow, lard, bacon fat, coconut oil or olive oil would all be good choices)
    • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
    • 2-3 lb cross-cut beef marrow bones (aprox 6-8 bones in total) – preferably from grass-fed beef
    • 1 red onion – peeled, halved and sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic – peeled and minced
    • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 quart beef bone broth – preferably homemade
    • 1 Tbsp Coconut Aminos or other soy sauce substitute
    • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp Tapioca Flour
    • 3 slices Homemade Dairy-Free “Cheese” – cubed

The first thing that you are going to do is to preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

Peel the sweet potatoes, and cut them into fat fries – you really do not want skinny shoe-string fries here!  Place the fries in a bowl and toss with 2-3 tbsp of the fat you have chosen (melt the fat first if it is a solid type).  Season with salt, and spread the fries out in a single layer on 1-2 rimmed baking sheets.

Place the sweet potato fries in the oven, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Place the marrow bones upright in a rimmed roasting tin:

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Place the roasting tin with the marrow bones in the oven below the sweet potato fries.

While the fries and bones are cooking, prepare the gravy – melt the remaining 1-2 tbsp of fat in a heavy based pan over a medium heat.

Add the onion and sautee until caramelized and browned.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Now pour in the bone broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

When the timer goes off, take the sweet potato fries out of the oven and toss well.  Return them to the oven and set the timer for a further 15 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and coconut aminos to the pan with the onion and broth, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  You want the liquid to reduce by about a third…

When the oven timer goes off again, remove the sweet potato fries and bone marrow from the oven and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes while finishing the gravy.

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Use as stick blender to puree the gravy to a smooth consistency.

Take the tapioca flour and mix with a little cold water to make a slurry.  Mix this slurry into the gravy, and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened.

Taste and season as necessary with salt.

To assemble an individual portion of the Poutine…

Place a portion of the sweet potato fries in the bottom of an individual serving dish.

Scoop the bone marrow out of 2 of the roasted marrow bones and use to top the fries – don’t worry if it breaks up – that is fine…  Just don’t waste any.  You may need to use a small knife to cut around the bone cavity to release the bone marrow (if it comes out in one long piece chop it up before adding it to the fries in the dish!).  If the bones are too narrow, use a chop-stick or metal skewer to poke it out… just get as much out as you can! (Reserve the bones for making bone broth).  Make sure you either add any of the fat that comes out of the bone marrow to this dish or save it for future uses – it is a really nutritious fat.

Scatter some of the homemade dairy-free cheese cubes over the fries, and top with a generous ladle full of the gravy….

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Serve at once before the “cheese” has melted…

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It is worth bearing in mind that this is an incredibly rich dish, and it is very filling… the small amount shown in the picture above is roughly what each of us managed to eat – me and my 2 housemates (both of them guys)…  we all felt incredibly satisfied after eating it…. But not uncomfortably full… this stuff gets into your brain and just tells it that “I have eaten enough”…  bone marrow and the gelatin in the bone broth and cheese does that to you!  It is so incredibly nutritious that you really do not need to eat huge portions.

I would love to know if you try this recipe and what you thought of it…. and please, PLEASE!  give it a try with the bone marrow at least once!

Shared at: Simply Natural Saturday, Corn Free Every Day, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesdays, AIP Paleo Recipe Roundtable

Beef Heart Steak

I mentioned in a previous post that I had met Rachel from Trails End Beef.

The purpose of that meeting was for me to collect some wonderful 100% grass-fed beef heart, beef tongue and beef suet.

Let me tell you that the heart is absolutely WONDERFUL!

This is what I made with some of it….

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That beautiful plate of food is a beef-heart steak, some roasted root vegetables and bacon braised chard…

It was absolutely delicious, and simply packed with nutrition.

Organ meats, such as heart are one of the most concentrated sources of important vitamins, minerals and essential amino-acids.

Heart is a very concentrated source of Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is important for cardiovascular health.  Heart also contains large amounts of Vitamin A, B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, phosphorus and zinc.  It is also a rich source of copper.  In addition to this, heart contains more collagen and elastin than regular muscle meat, which means it is a good source of the amino-acids glycine and proline.  These two amino-acids are essential for connective tissue, joint and digestive health.

Heart can be a very cost effective way of eating grass-fed meat as organ meats, even from grass-fed animals, tends to be very cheap.

And despite it’s somewhat threatening appearance, heart has a taste and texture that is very similar to steak.

This is how I made it.

Beef Heart Steak

serves 2

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  • 2 slices of beef heart – each 1″ thick (about 4oz each)
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp kombucha
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed and coarsly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon – chopped
  • Beef Tallow or other cooking fat of choice

The first thing I did was to cut two 1″ thick steaks from the heart – there was far more heart than I needed for this.  The rest was saved to be used in another recipe.

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I took the 2 beautiful steaks and placed them in a ziplock bag along with the olive oil, kombucha, salt, parsley, tarragon and garlic.

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This was left to marinate for 30 minutes.

Next, heat up a heavy skillet with some beef tallow or other cooking fat, and once it is hot, add the heart.  Sear the steaks for 5 minutes per side until browned and cooked through to your liking.

I like my steak rare, and beef-heart steak is no exception.  If you prefer your meat more well done than this, increase the cooking time a little.

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Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

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I served this with roasted root vegetables and bacon braised chard.

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Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable, Real Food Fridays, Lets Get Real Friday, Mix it up Fridays, Awesome Life Friday, Natural Family Friday, Gluten Free FridayOld Fashioned Friday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Waste Not Want Not Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Homestead Bloghop, Fat Tuesday

Oxtail Stew

In winter I crave rich meaty stews, and one of my favourite meats is to use oxtails to make a stew.  The meat is rich and tasty and the bones add their goodness to this long-simmering stew.

When you eat it, you just know it is doing you good.

This recipe is AIP-friendly.

Oxtail Stew

serves 6

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  • 2 tbsp fat of choice (I used lard)
  • 2 oxtails cut into 1″-2″ pieces
  • 2 onions – sliced
  • 3 large carrots – cut in chunks
  • 3 sticks celery – cut in chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cups bone broth
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch to thicken the broth

Heat a large, heavy based pot over a medium-high heat.  Melt 1 tbsp of the fat and the brown the oxtail pieces on all sides, working in batches.

Remove the meat from the pot and add the remaining fat.  Add the onions, celery and carrots and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften slightly.  Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves and then pour in the broth.

Add the oxtails back to the pot and bring the whole thing to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for at least 3 hours until the meat is soft and tender and is falling off the bone.

Remove the oxtail pieces from the stew and take the meat off the bones (save the bones for making bone broth).

Remove the bay leaves and add the meat back to the stew.

Mix the tapioca starch with a little cold water and add to the pot.

Reheat and allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken the broth, then serve.

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Just look at this beautiful chunk of meat!

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This stew reheats beautifully, and gets better and better for a day or two sat in the fridge.

I will often make this for dinner, knowing that the leftovers can be eaten for lunch over the next couple of days.

Shared on Paleo AIP Recipe Roundup #66

Panfried Chicken Livers with Root Fries and Green Salad

We eat a lot of chicken livers – not only are they very good for you, they are insanely cheap and they are quick to cook as well.  As I try to include at least 2 offal meals in each weeks mealplan, we tend to eat chicken livers at least once a week.

They have a much milder flavour than beef or pigs liver, so don’t be put off you you don’t like the strong taste of those.

And to minimize that “livery” flavour, you can soak them in some coconut or almond milk for an hour or two if you really cannot get past the liver flavour.  I don’t usually do that though, because we all enjoy the taste.

This recipe is gluten and grain free, Paleo and also AIP-friendly.

Crispy Panfried Chicken Livers

serves 6CL4

  • 1½ – 2lb chicken livers
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • coconut oil to fry

Trim the chicken livers and cut into neat, even sized pieces about 2″ across.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

Mix together the coconut flour, garlic powder, salt and thyme.

Pour the mixture into a large ziplock bag, add the chicken livers, seal and shake well to coat the livers with the flour mixture.

Heat 1-2 tbsp coconut oil in a large sautee pan.  Add the livers in a single layer (you will have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan) and saute until they form a crisp crust – this will take 3-5 minutes.  Flip them over with tongs and brown the other side. Don’t over cook the livers – you want them just a little pink in the middle or they will be tough and bitter tasting.

Transfer the livers to a plate lined with a paper towel and keep warm while you cook the next batch, adding more coconut oil as necessary.

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Serve the livers right away.  I like to serve them with root vegetable fries and a simple green salad.

Root Vegetable Fries

serves 4-6

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  • 4 – 6 parsnips
  • 4-6 carrots
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil – melted
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • sea salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.

Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut into “fries”.  Toss these with the coconut milk, thyme and season with salt.

Spread the “fries” out on a rimmed baking sheet and cook in the oven until crisp and golden brown – 30-40 minutes.

Serve at once.

Simple Green Salad

serves 4-6

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  • 1head green laf lettuce – torn into pieces
  • 1 bunch watercress – chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes – tops removed, trimmed and cut into 4
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt

Tear the lettuce up into bitesize pieces and place it in a large salad bowl.  Add the chopped watercress and the trimmed and quartered radishes.

Toss well to mix.

Place the lemon juice, olive oil and some salt in a glass jar with a lid and shake to mix.

Use the lemon dressing to dress the salad, tossing well to ensure that everything is coated in the dressing.

Serve at once.

Paleo Steak and Kidney Pie

How can a pie be paleo?  Easy, you make a grain-free pastry, and use it to top a rich steak and kidney stew.

I love the steak and kidney mixture because it is so rich and flavourful, but it is also a good way of getting extra organ meat into your diet.

I made this for dinner, and was insanely proud of how well it worked.

The crust actually resembled a proper pie crust, and was a good accompaniment to the steak and kidney.  This is gluten, egg and dairy free, and could be adapted to being 100% AIP friendly by replacing the ground flax meal with more coconut flour.

The flax meal makes this a stage 2 reintroduction recipe.  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

I served this with cauliflower mashed potatoes and some sauteed ruby chard.

Paleo Steak and Kidney Pie

serves 6-8

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For the steak and kidney

  • 2lb beef kidney
  • 3lb round steak – cubed
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 2 carrots – peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery – chopped
  • 6oz mushrooms – sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 cups beef bone broth
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit the pepper if strict AIP)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder

For the pastry

  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ cup ground flax meal (or extra coconut flour if strict AIP)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • scant ½ cup of boiling water

The first thing you need to do is to trim the beef kidney.  All the white parts in the cent are tough and gristly, and they need to be cut away from the darker kidney meat.  This can be quite a fiddly time consuming job, but is necessary.  I usually start by cutting the kidney into pieces:

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Then I cut away all the white parts leaving as much of the brown as I can.

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Once that is done, cube your steak and season it.

Melt 1 tbsp lard in a heavy skillet and add the steak a few pieces at a time.  Brown the meat evenly on all sides.  It is important not to over crowd the pan, so work in batches.

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Once all the steak is browned, add the kidney to the pan and brown that as well.

Now in a large stew-pot, melt the remaining tbsp of lard and add the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms.  Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables are browning slightly and starting to get tender.

Add the meat to the vegetables, toss in a bay leaf and thyme, and pour over the bone broth.  Season with sea salt and black pepper and allow the mixture to simmer for 1 – 1½ hours, by which time the meat should be tender.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Mix the arrowroot powder with a little cold water and add this to the pot.  Allow the mixture to simmer until thickened.

Place the meat mixture into a pie dish – I used a 9×9″ square one

Once this is done, you need to make the pastry:

Mix the tapioca flour with the coconut flour, ground flaxmeal (or extra coconut flour if AIP), and stir in the baking soda cream of tartar and salt.

Rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture.

Add the hot water and knead well.

Form into a ball and roll out to the size of the pie dish.  Place the pie crust over the top of the meat in the pie dish.

Bake the pie in a 200°C/400°F oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is browned and the filling is hot and bubbly.

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Serve at once.

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I served this with cauliflower mash and sauteed ruby chard.

Shared at Allergy Free Wednesday #111

Shared at Gluten Free Friday #88

Hidden Liver Meatloaf & Simple Gravy

I am trying to make an effort to include more organ meat/offal in our diets simply because it is so good for us.  It is also very cheap, and a great way to keep the grocery budget under control.

I have been reading a lot lately on IPMG about people grinding up liver and hiding it in other foods, usually because either they don’t like the taste, or to hide the “yuck” factor so that kids will eat it.  I am lucky in that my kids will willingly eat liver, and Hubby and I both love it, but sometimes it is nice to have a change.

I was already planning on making one of Hubby’s favourite meals – Meatloaf, so I decided that I could add the liver to that.

Here is a warning – when you grind liver in the food processor it goes very sloppy.  I just mixed that sloppy, wet mess into my regular meatloaf recipe.  It made the mixture a little wetter than normal, but it cooked up OK.

The liver in the meatloaf along with the ground beef, pork and bacon was delicious!  It really enhanced the flavour, although I don’t think it was really “Hidden”.  I could tell from the flavour that it was in there, but that could be because I left the liver just a little bit chunky instead of blending it until it was smooth.

This recipe is a stage 2 reintroduction because it contains flaxmeal (stage 2 reintroduction) and black pepper (stage 1 reintroduction).  When reintroducing foods on the AIP, I recommend this guide.

To make this recipe 100% AIP compliant simply leave out the flaxmeal and black pepper.

Hidden Liver Meatloaf

Makes 2 – each serves 4

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  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1lb beef liver
  • 6 rashers of bacon
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsp fat of choice (I used some bacon fat in this, but you could use coconut oil, tallow or lard)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper (omit the pepper if sensitive to it or strict AIP)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal (omit if strict AIP)

The first thing you do is to dice up all the veggies.  I chop them in the food processor until coarsely chopped.  Don’t let them get to a puree though.

Melt the fat in a skillet and add the chopped veggies, and cook over a medium heat until tender and starting to brown.  Now add the garlic and herbs.  Season well with salt and pepper.

While the veggies are cooking grind up the liver in the food processor.  As I mentioned earlier, it will get very sloppy.  I left mine just a little chunky.

Transfer the liver to a mixing bowl along with the ground pork and beef, and use the food processor to grind up the bacon.  If you try to do this with the liver, the liver will be over-ground before the bacon is ground up small enough.

Add the bacon to the mixing bowl along with the veggies.  Season well with salt, pepper, coconut aminos and fish sauce.  Stir in the flax seed meal if using it.  It can easily be left out if you want to make this recipe AIP, but it does help the meatloaf to firm up, and it thickens the mixture a little.

Mix the ingredients together – I find this is easiest with my hands.  Then transfer the mixture to 2 large loaf tins.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.  Cook the meatloaves in the oven for 1 – 1½hours until cooked through.  Check the temperature using a meat thermometer if you are not sure.  You want the internal temperature to be 70°C (160°F).

Take the meatloaf out of the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes while you make the gravy.

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As far as I am concerned, good meatloaf NEEDS gravy!  As well as the gravy (recipe below), I also served mashed rutabaga and sauteed kale with this.

Simple Gravy

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  • 2 onions  – diced
  • 2 tbsp fat of choice – I used some leftover bacon fat
  • 1 cup good bone broth
  • Any pan juices or drippings from the meat (I used the juice out of the meatloaf)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit the pepper if sensitive to it or strict AIP)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 – 2 tsp tapioca flour –  optional

Take the onions and cook them over a medium heat in the fat until they are very soft and caremelized.  Don’t stint on the browning as this is what gives colour to the gravy.

Once the onions are browned to your satisfaction, add the bone broth and any meat juices you have available, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the coconut aminos.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then blend with an imersion blender.  The blended onions help to thicken the gravy as well as adding flavour.  If you feel it needs a little extra thickening, add the tapioca flour, mix well and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve at once.

This gravy is great to serve with any meats – you don’t even need the pan juices if you don’t have any.

Oxtail Stew

I am a big fan of nose to tail eating, and this is literally the tail…

Oxtails make a delicious meaty stew and I love them.  But I don’t get to eat them very often because, unlike a lot of offal, they are not particularly cheap.  Part of that I think is due to the fact that there is only one tail per cow, but also, they became fashionable when a lot of chefs started to use them, and the price rocketed.  If possible, use grass-fed oxtails.

This is a slow cooker recipe, which tenderizes the meat wonderfully and extracts plenty of nutrients from the bones.

It is perfect for a cold winters day.  Or even a snowy one like today.  First day of spring and it is snowing here in Calgary!

Oxtail Stew

serves 6- 8 with plenty of leftovers

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  • 2.3kg (aprox 5lb) of oxtail cut into chunks.  This was 2 large oxtails – get the butcher to cut them up for you
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions – peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots – peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 turnips – peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 stalks of celery – cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic – crushed
  • 1 796ml (28floz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 4-5 cups of bone broth/stock
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.  Place the cut up oxtail on a large rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until browned.  This step is entirely optional, but does improve the flavour and colour of the stew.

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Transfer the oxtails to the slow cooker along with the vegetables, herbs, tomatoes and enough bone broth to just cover the contents.

Cook on low for 8 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

Remove the bones from the stew, allow them to cool until you are able to handle them, and pull off any meat. Return the meat to the stew and discard the bones.  Mix the tapioca flour with a little water and stir into the stew  and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes until thickened.

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I serve this stew with a big pile of sauteed greens and some mashed root vegetables.

This recipe makes enough for dinner and then plenty of leftovers that can be reheated for lunch the next day.

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In some ways, it is even better for being kept overnight in the fridge.