Marrow Bones

Fri, Jan 25 • 0

cooked marrow bones

Ok, vegetarians, look away.

Marrow bones just might represent the worst food ever in the world of meat when looked at from the high, white towers of veganism. It’s got to be desperation food. Marrow is the jiggling center of roasted cow (or veal) leg bones. The fact that it’s so fatty might just put people off, but really, it’s not any worse than slathering butter on your toast instead. And it is fatty, but it’s got no gristle or structure to it, so unlike the chewy part of fat on that ribeye, the marrow just melts away in your mouth. It’s incredibly rich, too. I couldn’t imagine making a whole meal of this. It’s more of an appetizer or a late-night snack. You might have trouble finding marrow bones in the supermarket. I chanced upon them this morning at Whole Foods. I imagine, if you asked the meat guy, he could get you some.

You’ll want to figure about three bones per person, cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths. Preheat your oven to 450° and stack them up like soldiers in an oven proof skillet. They’ll take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to cook, depending on how cold they are when you started. After 15 fresh marrow bonesminutes, check on them frequently. You’ll be looking for the inner core of the leg bone to get a crusty brown that’s beginning to separate from the bone. Wait too long, and it’ll all melt away.

While they’re cooking, make some toast from a good crusty bread, and chop up some flat leaf parsley.

When they’re done, using a butter knife, just scoop out the hot center and spread it, just like butter, on the toast. Sprinkle with some course and crunchy sea salt, and top with the parsley.

Chili Experiment #1

Sun, Jan 20 • 0

chilipeppers.jpgSo I tried my hand at making chili today, without a recipe. It turned out pretty well, but I think it could have used a little more heat. Here’s what I did…

First I put a couple of dried chilies into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes. I’d read that this sort of brightens their flavor a bit, and is supposed to add some smoky undertones. Not sure if that happened. I used two kinds Guajillo and Cascabel, a couple toasted and a couple not, with their stems and seeds removed, then ground up in my spice grinder. I also had some ground Allepo chilies, too.

Then I took a large sweet onion and chopped it pretty thoroughly in the food processor, along with an orange bell pepper and three cloves of garlic. I put that in my dutch oven with a little olive oil, and cooked it over medium heat. I cut 2lbs of brisket into 1″ cubes, removing the larger pieces of fat from each piece, and browned them in a cast iron pan. To the onions, I added a whole can of tomato paste, 2T of the chili powder, 1 T of oregano, and 1T of ground cumin, plus some salt and pepper. I let the tomato paste cook a bit, then added the beef and a can of Guinness Stout — (admittedly, not a very mexican touch), plus, 2T of dark chocolate cocoa powder. I stirred all of this together, and let it come to a boil, and then I put in in the 350 oven with the lid on. After about 2 hours, I could smell that the liquid had cooked down quite a bit, so I pulled it out, and let it cool, since I wasn’t going to be eating for awhile.

A couple hours later, I soaked up what grease had floated to the surface with a paper towel, and then put it back on the heat. I was afraid it wouldn’t be substantial enough, and considered making some rice, but ultimately added a can of black beans, rinsed.

Ok. Not exactly authentic. But it tasted pretty good. Next time, I think I’ll skip the Guinness and add some tomato sauce and some water instead. I also think it could have used a bit more heat… though my wife is pretty sensitive to spicy food. We’ll see. What’s your favorite chili recipe?


Thu, Dec 27 • 0

This is what 23 pounds of beef short ribs looks like, or about $60 worth of meat from the warehouse store.

short ribs, 12/27/07Whenever my extended family gets together, my two brothers and I engage in a little — ok, quite a bit — of friendly competition. We each agree to make the main meal for one of the nights we’re together, like we’re doing over this weekend. I agreed to make dinner for the first night. What we decide to make is all very hush-hush, top secret. At the end of the get-together, all the kids decide which was the best meal. (Unfortunately, I think the one they last ate always seems to win out, regardless of who made it or what it was.) Anyway, this time, I chose a recipe that I figured I could start here at home, and then pack up in a cooler and finish it off with minimal effort at the place where we’re gathering. Unfortunately, the recipe I was working from was designed to feed 4 people. I need to feed 18. So I quintupled the quantities. I’m hoping that since I’m starting off with a slow braise of these short ribs in a relatively cool oven, upping the volume won’t play havoc with the cooking time. I may add an hour to the braise time, just in case. I’ll let you know how it all works out in a couple of days.

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