About Bone Marrow

 

 

Farming website logo

 

Marrow is the soft, creamy, high caloric substance found in the center of the bones. According to Waverly Root, in his reference work Food, bone marrow is “the rather mucilaginous matter which fills bones and is considered a particular delicacy by cannibals.” Root was obviously not a fan, but cooked bone marrow has a mild taste and the consistency of soft butter; gourmands compare it to foie gras.

The most popular marrow is veal or beef, from the animals’ leg bones. Don’t neglect what you find in lamb and pork shanks, hams, and game bones. Even if you don’t eat the marrow straight from the bone, remember to add those bones to your stock pot to enrich the final broth.

Since man began hunting, marrow has been an important food source. It provides fat, iron, phosphorous, and vitamin A, with trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. For people living at subsistence levels or in marginal areas, it could mean the difference between life and death. All mammals have marrow in their bones, as do birds–though to a lesser extent, because many bird bones are hollow, which helps them fly.

During the Middle Ages marrow, like suet (the fat from around the kidneys), was used in place of butter as an ingredient in pastries, sweet puddings, and desserts. In Victorian times, marrow was a popular dish at English high teas and in men’s clubs, and it was often served, instead of pudding, at the end of each meal. Queen Victoria was a devotee, who it was said, ate marrow and toast every day. That may not have improved her figure, but it didn’t shorten her life.

Although rich, beef marrow is easily digested. Because it is one of the richest foods there is, in the past it was the nutritional choice of anyone with poor appetite or who needed building up. It was regarded as a health food, perfect for invalids and children. In one English recipe, the marrow is colored yellow with saffron and then whipped until it resembles butter. It was recommended for sickly children.

Fortunately, we don’t need the excuse of feeling undernourished to eat marrow; we can eat it because we like it. However, because many of us pay attention to the amount of saturated fat in our diets, marrow is usually a special treat.

Knowing where your meat comes from, and how it has been raised, is especially important when it concerns bone marrow. Spinal marrow is found in the bones of chips and ribs, the neck, and tail. The safest bone marrow is that from the leg bones, because it has no contact with brain tissue.

 

This information is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Roasted Marrow Bones

 

 

This is the dish that started me on my bones journey. Scooping out the soft, warm marrow and spreading it on crisp toast is a sensual delight. A touch of salt, and all is right with the world. I suggest two marrow bones per person, since it is a very rich dish–but I could easily eat all eight. Marrow bones are cut from the shank bones of beef and veal; ask your butcher for bones cut from the center of the shank so the portion of marrow to bone will be higher and the marrow easier to extract.

Serve the bones French style, with only fleur de sel, or English style with Parsley Salad. Use good rustic bread for the toast. Plan ahead, as the bones must be soaked for 12-24 hours to remove any traces of blood.

 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Roasted Marrow Bones


  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Serves 4 As An Appetizer 1x

Ingredients

Scale

8 Veal or Beef Marrow Bones, about 3 inches long

Kosher Salt

Vegetable Oil

Parsley Salad (found here)

8 Slices Rustic Bread

Fleur de Sel


Instructions

  1. Place the bones in a bowl of ice water to cover, add 2 Tbsp. salt, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, changing the water 4-6 times and adding 2 more Tbsp. salt to the water each time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Drain the bones and pat dry. Stand them up in a lightly oiled roasting pan, and roast for 15-25 minutes, or until the marrow has puffed slightly and is warm in the venter. To test, insert a metal skewer into the venter of marrow, then touch it to your wrist to see if it is warm. There should be no resistance when the skewer is inserted, and a little of the marrow should have melted and started to leak from the bones.
  3. While the bones are roasting, prepare the parsley salad, if serving it, and toast the bread.
  4. Divide the bones among four plates and serve hot, with the optional salad, toast, and fleur de sel. Each diner scoops out the marrow and spreads it on the toast, sprinkling it with salt.

Notes

Poached Marrow Bones
ºYou can poach marrow bones in simmering salted water instead of roasting them, but they must still be soaked in advance. Poach them for 15 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of the bones; drain well before serving.

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

 

Braised Short Ribs

 

 

There are two different cuts of short ribs. Larger ones are cut into individual pieces between the bones. Cross-cut ribs, or flanken, are strips cut across the bones against the grain. For this recipe use cross-cut ribs and cut them into rectangular pieces, each with a piece of bone.

I make this dish ahead and chill it so you can easily remove any fat from the top of the sauce. The flavor improves with reheating, but add the chopped herbs just before serving, so they don’t lose their freshness.

 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Braised Short Ribs


  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

3 1/2 lbs. Cross-cut Short Ribs, cut into pieces

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Large Onion, diced

1 1/2 c. Dry Red Wine

3 Large Carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces

6 Large Garlic Cloves, peeled

1 Serrano Chile, stem removed

One 14 oz. Can While Tomatoes

3 Flat-Leaf Parsley Sprigs, plus 1/3 c. Parsley, chopped

1 Large Basil Sprig, plus 1/3 c. Silvered Basil Leaves

1 Large Thyme Sprig

1 Bay Leaf


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300º F. Pat the ribs dry and season with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or flameproof casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.
  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly softened. Pour in the red wine and bring to a boil, deglazing the pot by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the carrots, garlic, chile, and tomatoes, with their juices. Bring to a boil, then add the ribs, with any juices, the parsley, basil, and thyme sprigs, ant the bay leaf.
  3. Remove the pot form the heat and cover with a damp piece of parchment paper and then the lid. Transfer to the oven and cook covered for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove the lid and parchment paper and cook the ribs for another 1 1/2 hours, or until very tender.
  5. If making ahead, let the ribs cool, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the layer of fat and discard the her sprigs and chile. Reheat, covered, in a 300º F oven for about an hour, or until heated through. Sprinkle with the chopped hers, check the seasoning, and serve.
  6. If serving the ribs immediately, tip the pan and skim off as much fat as possible. Remove the her sprigs and chile pepper, sprinkle with the chopped herbs, and check seasoning.

Notes

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

 

 

Concentrated Brown or White Veal Stock

 

 

Often I don’t have room for one more container of stock in my freezer, so I make easy-to-store frozen concentrated stock cubes. As the stock boils, the water evaporates, concentrating the stock’s flavor and making what is called a demi-glace. (This technique of boiling to reduce the liquid is also a way to boost the flavor of an insipid stock–but only if there is no salt in it.) The wider the saucepan, the faster the liquid will evaporate, but it will still take at least 15 to 20 minutes. The saucepan must be deep enough to prevent the stock from boiling over. Watch the stock carefully toward the end of the cooking time, as it can boil up quite dramatically.

 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Concentrated Brown or White Veal Stock


  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

6 c. Unsalted Brown Stock or White Veal Stock

Kosher Salt


Instructions

  1. Before starting, pour 1 1/2 cups water into the saucepan you plan to use. This will show you the quantity of the concentrated stock you’re aiming for. Discard the water.
  2. Pour the stock into the pan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until it is reduced by about three-quarters, about 15 minutes. Pour the stock into a glass measuring cup to see if it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If not, return it to the saucepan and continue to boil to reduce it further. The stock will become syrupy and turn darker.
  3. Pour the reduction back into the measuring cup and add a good pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool slightly. Then pour the stock into ice cube trays and place in the refrigerator. (I usually end up with twenty-four cubes, each about 1 tablespoon.) When cold, the cubes will set like jelly and can be popped out of the trays and stored in bags in the freezer.
  4. These stock cubes are four times as strong as the original stock. You can use them to boost the flavor of soups and sauces. Or, to reconstitute them to use un place of stock, add 3 tablespoons water along with each cube.

Notes

If you reduce the stock too much, just add a little water.

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Brown Stock (Plus White Veal Stock)

 

 

Stock is very simple to make, as most of the cooking time is unattended. A good stock is very useful to the cook; it is the foundation of soups and sauces and it adds depth of flavor to braised meats and other dishes. When making beef stock, add some veal bones if you can, because they contain more collagen and will result in a richer, more gelatinous stock. A spilt calf’s foot is ideal, but not easy to find.

Brown stock is made by roasting the bones before cooking them in water. The result is a darker, stronger flavored stock that is a great addition to slow-cooked beef dishes and sauces for the roast beef, as well as with game when game stock isn’t available.

Stock can be made almost any quantity, I find this amount fits easily into my stockpot, the recipe can be doubled. The stock can be refrigerated or frozen; if room is tight in the freezer, the stock can be concentrated before freezing (see here).

 

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Brown Stock


  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 6-7 cups 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

2 Carrots, sliced

1 Large Onion, unpeeled, cut into wedges

1 Celery Stalk, sliced

1 Leek, trimmed quartered lengthwise

4 1/2 lbs. Mixed Beef & Veal Bones, cut into 2-to-3-inch pieces

1 Large Tomato, halved

6 Garlic Cloves

Mushroom Trimmings, optional

1 Bay Leaf

3 Thyme Sprigs

3 Flat-Leaf Parsley Stems

1/4 tsp. Black Peppercorns

Kosher Salt, optional


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. Scatter the carrots, onion, celery, and leek over the bottom of a large roasting pan. Rinse the bones well under cold running water, pat bones dry, and place them on top of the vegetables.
  2. Roasting, turning the bones once or twice, for 1 hour, or until the bones are well browned.
  3. Using tongs, transfer the bones and vegetables to a large stockpot. Discard any fat from the roasting pan. Add 2 cups water to the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, deglazing the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add this liquid to the stockpot, along with the tomato, garlic, mushroom trimmings, if using, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley. Pour in 10 cups cold water, or enough to cover the bones, and bring slowly to a boil. As soon as the stock begins to boil, reduce the heat so that it simmers. Using a soup ladle, skim skim off any scum that has risen to the surface (rotate its bowl on the surface of the stock to make ripples: these will carry the scum to the edges of the pot, and you can then use the ladle to lift it off). Add the peppercorns and simmer, uncovered, for 5 hours, skimming from time to time.
  4. Strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl. Discard the debris left in the sieve, and cool the stock quickly by placing the bowl in larger bowl or sink filled with ice water; stir occasionally as it cools. When you taste the stock, you will notice that something is missing–the salt. Once you add it, the flavor will sparkle. But it was deliberately left out so that you can reduce the stock if desired, without any fear that it will become too salty. If you are not reducing the stock, add about 1 tsp. salt.
  5. Refrigerate the stock for 6 hours, or overnight, to allow the fat to rise to the top of the stock and the debris to sink to the bottom. Remove the fat before using (and discard the debris at the bottom of the bowl).
  6. Divide into 1-cup quantities and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Notes

White Veal Stock
º White veal stock can be used in any veal dish as well as in place of poultry or pork stock.
º Use only veal bones rather than a mixture of beef and veal bones. Do not roast the bones or vegetables. Place the bones and vegetables in the stockpot, along with the tomato, garlic, optional mushroom trimmings, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley, and add 12 cups cold water. Proceed as for brown stock, adding the peppercorns after skimming.

The information and recipe, contained within, is excerpted from Bones by Jennifer McLagan and can be purchased here.

Crispy Fried Kidney

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Crispy Fried Kidney


  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

1 Beef Kidney, about 1 lb., cleaned and prepped *See Here*

4 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1 c. Blanched Almond or Cassava Flour

1 Tbsp. Fine Sea Salt

1 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Grass-fed Butter

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

2 tsp. Ground Coriander

1 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice


Instructions

  1. Pat the kidney dry and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Toss in a medium bowl with 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil until well coated.
  2. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper, Dredge the kidney pieces well in the flour mixture.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the kidney cubes and fry until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Remove the kidney from the pan and place on a place lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.
  4. In the same pan, melt the butter, then add the garlic and coriander and cook until the garlic turns light brown. Return the kidney to the pan, then add the lemon juice. Cook for 30 more seconds and finish with a liberal sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Notes

Because beef kidney tend to have a stronger flavor than the kidneys of smaller animals, it’s key to soak them to remove impurities, as instructed here. Consider serving these with a tasty dipping sauce (found here). If you’re hesitant about stronger-tasting offal, start with smaller kidneys, such as veal or lamb, before working your way up to the big show!

This will keep in the fridge for about 4 days.

Recipe is an excerpt from It Takes Guts by Ashleigh Vanhoute and can be purchased here.