Been hearing all the talk about bone marrow, butter of the gods, but have yet to try it, let alone cook it? Well, your day has come. Bone marrow is a delicious, nutritious, easy to prepare ingredient with many uses. While you might not have it as a regular part of your diet, yet, most likely it was a staple for your ancestors.
Cultures around the world and throughout history have prized bone marrow. The Chinese believe that bone marrow is beneficial for your chi or life force, as well as your kidneys. If you enjoy good Chinese cooking, you may have already experienced bone marrow in a soup broth.
The Vietnamese use marrow bones in their beloved pho. Italians introduced the world to Osso Buco which, directly translated, means “hole of bone.” The beloved French dish pot-au-feu is all about the bones – and marrow. And that is just to name a few!
Additionally, we know that a variety of animals go for it before any other part of their prey. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that butchers offered bones (complete with marrow) free to patrons as treats for their pups.
Today, those same bones are pricier, more sought after, and a staple in diets such as Paleo. The high fat, high protein, creamy, richness of bone marrow contains many vitamins and minerals making it a desirable fuel for man and beast.
Specifically, marrow contains collagen, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, boron, vitamin K2, and vitamin A. It has been shown to strengthen the immune system, support bone and joint health, strengthen skin, hair, and nails, support brain and nervous system functions, and help improve nutrient absorption which leads to better digestive health. And those are just a few of the benefits!
Now you can see why everyone is so excited about this “new” superfood! So, let’s get started.
Many people use beef bones because they are more readily available to purchase and larger which means they render more marrow. However, veal, lamb, and game bones such as bison are other options.
The key is to look for wide bones and ask your butcher to cut them before bringing them home. Bones 3-4 inches in length are usually easier to work with regardless of the cooking method you will be using. This is known as a canoe cut. However, smaller bones, such as oxtail, can be cut into circles known as crosscut.
Lastly, as you would with any food purchase, make sure that you are buying the highest quality bones possible. Purchasing from a farmer who sells organic meat or a butcher that sources organic animals is your best bet. If you purchase the bones of an animal given hormones and antibiotics, those toxins will be stored in the fat of the marrow.
Start by soaking the split bones in salted water overnight. While this step isn’t essential, it will remove any blood that is in the bone and lead to a firmer marrow that is better for roasting.
Line your sheet pan with foil to catch any drippings. If you’re working with canoe cut beef bones, roast at 450 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until the marrow is spreadable. Too much time and it will turn to liquid and spill from the end of the bone. At the first signs of bubbling the marrow is done. If you are working with smaller bones or crosscut bones, they will require less time.
Roasted marrow can be seasoned with salt and pepper before or after roasting according to your taste.
To enjoy your roasted marrow all you need is a small spoon or butter knife to scoop it onto a piece of toasted or crusty bread. If the richness is a bit much at first, you can accompany the spread with microgreens, herbs, thinly sliced onion or shallots, and lemon juice.
Want to impress your family and friends, mix 2 – 3 tablespoons of roasted marrow with a stick of softened butter, roll the mixture into a cylinder using plastic wrap or parchment paper, and then place in the refrigerator until firm. Cut slices to top burgers or steaks for an extra added deliciousness,
Have a chilly weather soup in mind? Check out our easy and delicious recipe for Gut Healing Bone Broth.