Lately I’ve been making a lot of stock/soup out of varying combinations of animal bones and meats. Mostly chicken stock because it’s cheap and relatively quick to make, but a few days ago I splurged (three euro, I know, really splashing out) on some beef marrow bones and various other pieces of cow bone with scraps of meat attached. I rarely make beef stock because it takes longer, is slightly more expensive and seems (to me, for my recipes) less versatile. BUT it’s delicious and definitely worth a go once in a while. So, while at the supermarket gawking at the offal in the meat section (this is one of my favorite pastimes), I decided to give beef stock a go.
To make a good beef stock the bones should be roasted for 20-30 minutes at about 200 Celsius (400 F) prior to simmering. If you are using marrow bones for your brew (you should be!), you have some deliciously cooked marrow staring up at you when you take the roasting pan out of the oven. You could just dump it in the pot with the bones to add flavor and nutrients to the stock, but if you are extravagant like me you will want to eat it all ASAP on a piece of toast. If you are more extravagant than me, you will serve it with a parsley-lemon salad or something nice to aid digestion, and wait until you find the camera before slurping down the core of molten goo bubbling up at you under a layer of crisp, crunchy awesomeness. As evidenced by the above photo, I’m not that fancy…
It’s pretty hard to find any reliable information on bone marrow nutrition facts/health benefits, but I’m going to say that it’s probably pretty good for you if eaten in moderation – a lot of bodily processes rely on what’s inside bone marrow, and that’s got to count for something! It’s fairly high in fat so you may not want to eat it every day, if fat isn’t your thing. But whatever, it’s way tastier, cheaper, and probably healthier than a candy bar. You’ve probably done a million less-healthy things today than eating a few spoonfuls of high-calorie bone marrow (did you drive two blocks instead of walking? You’re destroying the planet AND yourself! Etc.). And none of them were as satisfying.
Bonus: you still have the roasted bones (did you forget about those already?) to throw into a big pot for your delicious, undoubtedly healthy stock. Simmer those lil’ dudes up with some apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, and a bay leaf for anywhere between 5 and 24 hours (adding water as it evaporates), throw in some vegetables towards the end for even more flavor/nutrition, strain it all and you are good to go, high five, now you can make a tasty soup.