Foodstuff: Beef Marrow Bones

Beef Marrow Bones 1

Marrow, the rich, fatty substance in the center of certain animal bones, has long been used as a food by humans. It is very nutritious, and thus has been used for eminently practical reasons, but it has also, at various times, and in various cuisines, been regarded as something of a delicacy.

Chiefly, one finds bones being used in the preparation of hearty stocks, and occasionally  extracted and eaten as sort of a ‘side benefit’ in certain dishes, but, for a long time, the idea of marrow being a treat in and of itself has been a bit dormant in the west. This, however, has been changing in recent years, and the appetizer of roast marrow bones you see posted above, and for which a recipe will follow, is a common representation of the trend …

Beef Marrow Bones 2

Here you can see a common example of a dish in which bone marrow is a ‘side benefit’. Osso Bucco is an Italian dish that has been around since the middle ages and the version you see above is one that was served to me in Montreal several years ago. The name ‘Osso Bucco’ means ‘hollow bone’ and this, of course, is the result once one has scooped out the marrow from the insides. So popular was this treat, that the Italians had a specially shaped spoon for extracting all the fatty goodness that was known, half in jest, half in bitterness, as the ‘tax collector’. The treat is not just limited to Italian cuisine, of course, and people will often prepare a small dish that includes no meat or other major ingredient, but just the marrow filled bones themselves…

 

Beef Marrow Bones 3

Here is a close up of a marrow bone cut in cross-section (they can also be cut along the length). The central marrow, when raw, doesn’t look a great deal different from the bone, although a slightly ‘spongy’ texture is apparent. Once cooked, the soft, fatty nature of the delicacy will be obvious.

 

Beef Marrow Bones 4

This picture shows a dish where the bone is cut lengthwise. This was an appetizer I had served to me in Vancouver a little over a year ago and it wasn’t bad… How the bones are cut won’t affect the quality of the marrow, of course, but you may have a preference depending on how you wish to use and present the bones for service…

 

Beef Marrow Bones 5

Anyway, the recipe for roast marrow bones (as such), couldn’t be simpler… All you need to do is liberally salt the bones, place them in a lightly greased roasting pan, and then roast at 450 degrees for about 15 or 20 minutes. That’s it…

For service, plate the bones along with toasted bread. Diners can scoop out the marrow and then spread it on the toast pieces. Pickles, or relishes could also be served, but you really don’t want to overwhelm the marrow taste with too much in the way of additional flavor…

 

 

3 thoughts on “Foodstuff: Beef Marrow Bones”

  1. I recently watched a cooking show that had a cook use a marrow bone for the vent in the center of a meat pie. I need to try it! The marrow bubbled out of the bone and added an amazing crisp and flavor to the crust… I drooled! Lol

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