Jim and I were watching a show recently about a small restaurant called The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine, US. Instead of serving the normal breadbasket, they start their guests off with a tasting tray. Kind of like a mini charcuterie board with some of the locally sourced fruits and vegetables they obtain. One item they featured on this tray was a whipped bone marrow. It sounded so intriguing, and since I am not going to find myself near Main anytime soon, I had to replicate it and try for myself.
If you are unfamiliar with bone marrow or are a little worried about it, don’t worry it does seem strange to eat the center of a bone. However, our ancestors have been doing it for centuries, and you have too without realizing it. The marrow is found in the center of the bone and contains vitamins and collagen vital for our health. It has a slightly sweet meaty flavor. It gives broth and many gravies that extra punch of flavor. If you like to nibble on the bone from a T-bone steak, then you have tasted some bone marrow.
I didn’t know what I was expecting it to taste like. For some reason I was lost on that. I shouldn’t have been, because I have eaten bone broth and enjoyed the meat around a T-bone steak. Surely at some point I have tasted bone marrow without even realizing that I have. I spread the butter on some fresh sourdough toast first. I immediately was like wow! It had that salty butter taste mixed with a slightly sweet, mild meat taste. Not at all what I was expecting! After taking my bite I had Jim taste. He was speechless! His eyes popped open in awe and then he grabbed for more. It will definitely be a new edition to any of my bread or charcuterie boards.
The process of making the whipped marrow butter is fairly simple. You clean and roast the bones, then blend the soft center with butter and any additional herbs. Super easy! The only time-consuming part is the overnight brine. But this step is important to do, as it helps the flavor improve and removes any excess liquids left in the bones after butchering. Try to source the bones as locally as possible. This will insure the freshest product. We used round sliced bones we found at a local store but are going to try the length cut bones next time. Almost all butcher shops carry bones for either stock or marrow these days, so it should be easy to obtain.
Unlike vegetables or a full piece of meat, they don’t take long to cook. In fact, I overcooked mine the first time. Overcooking causes a lot of the healthy fat and juice to cook out of the marrow. Leaving you with little product to use and a tray full of empty bones. So don’t overcook!
For the butter itself we just blended with a stick of salted butter we had in the fridge. You can use unsalted and then salt the finished product to your taste, but we did the most convenient mixture. Same goes with the chives. Try different herbs if you like. This will change the flavor and add more depth to any recipe you decide to use it in. You could spread it on toast or mix into roasted vegetables. You could even use it as a finishing touch to a beautiful grilled steak or use it when making smash burgers to add a little moisture to leaner meat patties. Any savory item will only taste better with this addition. Try it out and Enjoy!
Whipped Bone Marrow Butter
- 1 cookie sheet
- 1 blender
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 pack beef bone cut to expose inner bone marrow
- 2 Tbsp salt
- 1 stick salted butter
- 2 Tbsp chives chopped finely
- 1-2 quarts water
- Remove beef bones from packaging and place in a large bowl. Pour water over the bones until completely covered. Add the salt and stir the bones just enough to mix the salt. Cover bowl and place in refrigerator overnight. You will notice the bones may have a red tint and smell strongly at first. The water bath in salt allows a natural osmosis process. This will pull out any remaining blood or juices in the bone and replace with the salted water. You can drain the water a few times and repeat the process if you want, but the bones will only pull in a certain amount of fluid. After 24 hours the bones will look grayer in color and have a less potent smell. After the minimum 24-hour soaking period, drain the water and place bones marrow side up on a cookie sheet. Preheat your oven to 425'F. This high temperature will allow the bones to brown adding extra flavor before melting out too much of the liquid from the marrow. This should take 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your bones. The round slices will cook quickly since the marrow is open to both sides of the pan. After roasting the marrow, scrape the marrow into a blender or food processor with a sharp blade. Add the room temperature butter to the marrow in the blender. Finely chop a few sprigs of chive and add to the butter. Blend until fully incorporated and fluffy. Place into a dish and use as a spread on toast or use as added flavor in a dish that calls for butter. You can place the whipped butter into an airtight container and store in your fridge for 1-2 weeks depending on if your fridge is on the colder side or not. Because it does have a meat product you don't want to store longer than that or keep on the counter for more than a few hours.