Thanks to my friend Duncan Blair of Rio Santa Cruz Ranch who provided me with this fabulous treat, I had the opportunity to cook my first Marrow Bones. I have had them before in restaurants and loved them, but never cooked them myself. I seem to be in a bit of a meat kick, but that again is, in large part, due to my introduction to grass finished beef. Now I have to find a source for organically and humanely raised chicken and pigs. If you’re interested in buying grass finished beef, go to: www.riosantacruzgrassfedbeef.com and place your order! You won’t be disappointed!
ROAST BONE MARROW AND PARSLEY SALAD
I did a little research to figure out how to cook them and found a wonderful recipe from Fergus Henderson, London chef–someone I am very interested in learning more from. I just picked up his cookbook, The Whole Beast-Nose to Tail Eating.
Learning how to utilize every part of the critter is important to me and this chef has obviously mastered that art. The book is brilliant and also includes many more traditional recipes, although I am excited to try the “Pea and Pigs Ear Soup” and the “Lamb’s Brain Terrine.” These may not be every day fare, but you’d be surprised how delicious these underutilized cuts could be.
Cooking Marrow Bones really could not be easier. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the Marrow Bones on a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes. The time depends on the thickness of your bones. As Fergus says, “the marrow should be loose and giving, but not melted away”.
Make the Parsley Salad while the bones are roasting. Chop a bunch of flat leaf parsley (I had curly on hand so used that instead), mix in 2 Tbsp. capers, 2 finely diced shallot. Just before serving dress with the juice of a lemon, olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used this Persian Lime Oil from a little shop in Sonoita, AZ–Skye Island Olive & Grapes. This store offers a “tasting room” with many different flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegars, plus a nice collection of gifty foods.(http://skyeislandoliveandgrapes.com/). The Lime Olive Oil is delicious, but the flavor may have been a bit aggressive for this purpose. Next time I used regular Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the salad was much better.
Slice either sourdough or a nice French bread and grill or pan fry in a little butter. I served as an appetizer allowing each diner to spread the marrow on their toast, top with a little sea salt and then the parsley salad. The second time I cooked the bones was with my good friends Dennis and Diana. They had never had marrow and both really enjoyed! Very fun adventure!
|In addition to many a fabulous dinner party, we’ve shared lots of other adventures with Dennis Diana.
Here we are Hot Air Ballooning at dawn over the Tortolita Mountains in Arizona.
A few weeks back my new rancher friend, Duncan, took me and my husband to the Willcox Meat Packing House in Willcox, AZ to meet owner Kirk Harris and see their operation. We had never been to a commercial plant like this and it was truly fascinating. Kirk is a gentle, soft spoken man who generously shared his knowledge (which is vast!) of how animals are killed and butchered. I know this would not be for everyone, but ‘butchering’ is another interest of mine and Kirk helped me to understand just how much is involved.
WILLCOX MEAT PACKING
|Kirk Harris with a cow that had just been slaughtered before we arrived.
Willcox Meat Packing is an old family business and we were fortunate enough to meet 3 generations of Harris’s. Kirk explained that they are a relatively small operation, slaughtering about 3000 cows per year, but also handle goats, sheep, pigs and wild game. They have started mesquite smoking hams and also make their own mesquite smoked bacon and sausage.
|It was so smoky in the ‘smoke-house’ that my eyes watered, but the aromas were wonderful!
The Mesquite Smoked Bacon is like none I have ever had…thick cut, smoky, but not overpowering and unlike store-bought bacon, it tastes like pork! They don’t have a website, but here is their address: 3266 N Fort Grant Rd, Willcox, AZ 85643; 520-384-2015. If you call, please tell him ‘Cook with Cindy’ sent you! I am trying their sausage next and have no doubt it will be equally special and delicious!
My husband’s favorite breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Green Peppers, very crispy potatoes and BACON!
Next, I’m going to share a recipe for Arm Roast, another of Duncan’s grass fed cuts. This recipe would work well with any roast or meat that requires braising–slow cooking at low temp.
BRAISED ARM ROAST WITH WILD MUSHROOM AND RED WINE REDUCTION
1 Beef Roast-about 4 lbs. (I used the Arm Roast cut.)
Flour for dusting
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut in thick chunks
2 stalks celery, roughly diced
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly diced
1 leek, white and a little green, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
3.5 oz. shitake mushrooms
3.5 oz. oyster mushrooms
4 oz. portabella mushrooms
4 oz. white buttons (OK, so these aren’t too wild!)
5 sprigs rosemary
Half a bunch of parsley (Reserve some for garnish, which I did after I took this photo making the meat look much prettier.)
1/2 bottle red wine (I like to use Rex Goliath for cooking, either Merlot or Cab.)
1 cup (or more) chicken or beef stock (I had chicken in the fridge so used that.)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. My Arm Roast was not thickly cut (about 2 3/4″) and looked like it might fall apart after a long, slow cook so I started by tying some kitchen string around the perimeter of the beef to hold it into place. Next, liberally salt and pepper and coat with flour. The flour is what helps thicken the “gravy”.
Heat 4 Tbsp. of olive oil in a roasting pan until it’s nearly smoking. Brown both sides of meat. When nicely browned, remove the meat to a platter.
To the same pan, add carrots, onions, celery, and leek. Stir up any browned bits and cook veg for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 bottle red wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer for another 10 minutes. Now add all your mushrooms, garlic, and herbs to the roasting pan. Stir to combine.
Place the meat in the roasting pan and cover pan. Put in oven for 1 hour. Check in about a half hour to make sure liquid has not reduced too much. You want it at least half way up the meat. Add more chicken stock/red wine if necessary. Cover again and cook for another 2 hours continuing to check level of liquid. Uncover for last 1 1/2 to 2 hours of cooking. Spoon pan juices over meat every 20 minutes or so. Check to make sure the meat is nearly falling apart. If it is not, cook longer. The size of your roast will determine the length of cooking time. Bigger the roast, more the cooking. The mushrooms combined with wine and herbs made this a very rich and satisfying gravy. The meat was fantastically flavorful and tender!
That’s all for today.
Thanks for tuning in again for another episode of:
Next time we’re going to talk about Spaghetti Bolognese;
a very special pasta imported from Italy, and the best red wine I have ever tasted–Prada Enea (2004 Muga).