For those of you who simply adore all things savory and beefy, here is a super simple recipe that is as nutritious as it is rich. I know, some of you are thinking, “Bone marrow? Really?” but trust me, it’s sinfully delicious and provides the full gamut of amino acids, minerals and nutrients found only in offal and bone broths (for obvious reasons…).
I was first introduced to this delicacy at the most famous bone marrow joint of them all – Plachutta in Vienna. Plachutta is famous for its Tafelspitz — beef (usually the tri-tip cut) simmered for hours in its own broth with marrow bones and vegetables, then served with horseradish, creamed spinach and home-style applesauce.
The marrow is thickly slathered on heavy brown bread or rye toasts and eaten as you sip the gorgeous broth, just before diving into the tender meat. Wash everything down with an Austrian-brewed dunkel bier and you’ve got yourself a wholly satisfying, truly Austrian experience.
Bone marrow can either be a tempting appetizer or a full dinner, depending on how many pieces you have. Estimate 2-3 per person for a hearty appetizer and 5-6 for a full dinner.
Wrapping bacon around the bone marrow adds both extra flavor and extra meat, so it can be an easy way to make your marrow go a little further. If you’re paleo/primal like me, spoon it out and enjoy by itself; otherwise, slather all over toast and be sure to noisily lick your fingers clean (especially if you’re serving at a fancy dinner party).
· Marrow bones, sliced 1-2 inches thick, as many as you like
· Slices of bacon for each marrow bone
· Half a sweet, white onion, thickly chopped
· 1 bulb of garlic, cloves removed and sliced in half
· A few sprigs of fresh oregano
· sea salt
· black pepper
Heat your oven to 450F (230C). Wrap each bone in a slice of bacon and nestle them all closely together in a cast iron skillet (or two). Scatter around the garlic and onion pieces, wedging them between the marrow bones here and there and lay the sprigs of oregano over the top. Sprinkle over a little bit of salt (very little! Bacon is salty.) and a little bit more pepper, then slide into a piping hot oven for 20-30 minutes.
Since marrow is mostly fat, you don’t want to cook for too long, or else it will begin to melt. Keep a close eye on them after the 20 minute mark – they’re ready when the marrow bubbles and the tops of the bones begin to brown lightly.
Remove and serve alongside some roasted vegetables. Perhaps chopped cauliflower, thinly sliced zucchini and sliced portobello mushrooms, lightly basted in ghee (clarified butter) and broiled for 15-20 minutes until browned? Yes, I believe that sounds perfect.
Illustrations by Shana Sammons, © 2013