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Roasted Bone Marrow

If you crave dishes loaded with meaty, umami flavors, then these simple recipes for roasted bone marrow are your new happy place. While the list of ingredients and typical accompaniments are humble, the sum of their qualities are nothing short of complex, rich unctuousness, that is best served comfortingly warm from the oven. Both, roasted marrow straight from the bone and marrow butter, are divine when slathered on a piece of craggy artisan baguette or boule — and adorned with any number of piquant, herbaceous or sweet condiments and garnishes.

Roasted bone marrow is as much an experience as it is a dish. The aroma of the roasting marrow is toasty and crave-worthy, the texture is soft and silken, while the appearance of the bones themselves are a striking nod to an ancient era. They are almost offensive in their honest presentation of the cycle of life. One being’s essence (or marrow) is on the menu for another’s nourishment.

Roasted marrow bones are an homage to the origin story of the human species and the evolution of our ingenuity. According to some scholars, it is a dish we’ve been serving and enjoying for several millennia, 400,000 years to be exact. They believe our tool using ancestors were scavengers who learned to use stones to crack open bones, and consume the marrow of prey left by apex predators. Flash forward to present day; a helping of roasted marrow is a charmingly rustic pleasure of the hearth. It is a food fit for center stage of a modest lunch or the opening act of a grand and elegant feast.

Roasted Bone Marrow Tips

  • It is really important to purchase quality marrow bones from a humane, preferably organic, and sustainable source. If you live in Northern/Central, Virginia like myself, you have many fine local options. Some of my favorite suppliers are Ovoka Farms in Paris, VA; The Whole Ox in Marshall, VA; and The Organic Butcher in McLean, VA. Some online sources include D’Artagnan Foods, Marx Foods and Whole Foods Market.
  • If any of the bones you receive are oddly shaped, they need to be leveled out before roasting. You can accomplish this by tucking a piece of foil underneath the part of the bone that needs elevation.
  • Marrow bones have varying amounts of marrow, so I like to roast a couple extra bones just in case a few contain a scant amount of marrow.
  • Marrow completely liquifies if overcooked, so be sure to cook just until the marrow begins to bubble and brown.
  • It usually takes canoe cut bones longer to roast than cross cut bones.
  • In general, canoe cut bones contain more marrow than cross cut bones.
  • If you are serving marrow in the bone, a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil adds a beautiful sheen and flavor to the final dish. Other delightful additions to marrow in the bone or marrow butter is gremolata, juniper and fennel frond mignonette, marmalade, caper berries, microgreens, and fresh herb sprigs or edible flowers.
  • For beverage pairing, I suggest a high-quality Sauvignon Blanc as a vibrant, acidic counter point. Other great options include artisan hard cider or mead for their sweetness and novel appeal. For a non-alcoholic option, cold, still or sparkling water with a strip of citrus peel is perfect in its simplicity and refreshment.
  • If by some strange chance you have left over marrow, it can be frozen and added at a later date to pan sauces, stocks or stews for additional depth and richness.
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Recipe for Roasted Marrow Bones


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  • Author: Asha
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Serves 4


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 canoe cut halves (2 halves per person), or 16 cross-cut (4 per person) beef marrow bones, trimmed of most meat and tendon. (If your bones are frozen, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before roasting.)
  • Sea salt (light sprinkle for each bone)
  • Artisan baguette or boule, sliced
  • *optional accompaniments

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Arrange the bones on the baking sheet. If using cross cut bones, the wider opening should be facing up. If using canoe cut bones, the marrow side should be facing up. Lightly season each bone with salt.
  4. Roast in the oven for 15-25 minutes. Timing varies depending on the size of the bones. It generally takes canoe cut bones longer to roast than cross cut bones.
  5. Roast just until the marrow is bubbly and lightly browned. Bone marrow liquifies as it cooks so be sure not to overcook them and lose the marrow.

Serve

Serve the bones warm and presented on a platter, family style, or plated in individual portions with slices of fresh bread (plain, toasted, or grilled). Adjoining condiments are optional however, I highly recommend serving one or more to add depth, acidity and brightness to the dish.

 

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Recipe for Roasted Marrow Butter


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  • Author: Asha
  • Yield: 2 cups

Description

Makes two cups


Ingredients

  • Roasted marrow from 4 canoe cut halves or 8 cross cut bones

  • 1 pound (high quality, room temperature) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, chives, or thyme)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Maldon or other flaked sea salt


Instructions

1.       Follow the first recipe for instructions on roasting.

2.       Remove the bones from the oven. Once they are cool enough to handle, drain them of excess fat. Use a marrow spoon or butter knife to scoop the marrow into a bowl, set aside and cool to room temperature.

3.       Meanwhile whip the butter until light and fluffy.

4.       Add the cooled marrow, Maldon or other flaked sea salt, and fresh chopped herbs. Whip lightly to combine.

Serve

Transfer the butter to a serving dish and serve with copious amounts of artisan bread and accompaniments. If you are using the butter at another date, store it in an airtight container, bringing it to room temperature before serving. Another method for storing and using the marrow butter, is to use a piece of parchment or cling wrap to roll the butter into a log and refrigerate until solid. You now have what’s called a compound butter. While cold, compound butters can be cut into medallions and set atop warm meat, seafood, vegetables and pasta, just before serving. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

Happy Roasting!

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