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Posts Tagged ‘bone marrow’

Pate and Disillusionment

The more I experiment with trying the stereotypical “high society” food, the more I laugh at that whole cuisine.  So far it’s mostly been stuff that I’ve already had before, or really similar to something I’ve already had.  Polenta, for example, is the same as the “mush” that Mom made when I was growing up.  The difference is that Mom would chill hers after it cooked to set it, and then slice it and fry it.  Served up with butter and syrup.  This is as near to breakfast perfection as one can get in my opinion.  Well, served with bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.  Like I posted previously, bone marrow reminds me of dipping your bread in bacon fat.  Venison?  Grew up on the stuff.  Gnocci? Terrines?  Fancy words for potato dumplings and headcheese, both were regular items growing up.  I could go on, but I want to get to my latest addition to this list of peasant food that was stolen and given highfalutin names.  Pate.  Very tasty, but really nothing more than liverwurst.  And I’m sure you’re tired of me saying this, but grew up on that stuff too.

One quick aside before I get to the recipe.  A while back Lindz and I went to Andrew Zimmern’s book signing here in the Cities.  When he was signing it, I told him that I grew up on a lot of traditional Polish foods and most of what he showed on Bizarre Foods wasn’t all that different from what I ate.  He agreed with me and said that as you travel the world you discover that food basically isn’t all different.  I’m beginning to understand this.  You start to learn to appreciate the nuances in the seasoning and the quality of the cook.  And an aside to the aside, if you ever get the chance to meet Zimmern, do it!  He’s a great speaker and a genuinely nice guy.  We had a blast at the book signing.

Now, onto the pate!

This whole little adventure started with a trip up to Mom and Dad’s.  I was rummaging through the deep freeze looking for meat to swipe.  Mom was down in the basement with me and asked if I wanted a package of liver.  I hesitated for about a half a second and then said yes.  At that point, I was just planing on pan frying it with some onions because that’s what you do.  After I got home, it occurred to me that I could make some pate.  After a bit of digging, I found a really basic recipe that sounded good, also it was one of the very few that called for beef liver instead of chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Beef Liver, cut into pieces
  • 1 small Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 C Red Wine (did not use)
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed (used something like 8)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 sprig fresh Rosemary (used about 1 Tbs dried)
  • 1 sprig fresh Thyme (used about 1 Tbs dried)
  • 1 Tbs Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

The lovely basis for any good meal.

Saute the liver and onions in a couple of tablespoons of the butter until the livers are browned and the onions are tender.

Good enough to eat right now!

Add wine, garlic, mustard, herbs and lemon juice and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has gone.

I’ve always wondered what could possibly make liver any better? Oh, butter! That’ll do the trick!

Cool and blend to a smooth paste in the food processor (or a stick blender like I did)  along with the rest of the butter.  This is easier if the butter is not fridge cold.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Check the consistency of the pate. If it seems dry and crumbly rather than smooth and creamy, add more butter.

Yeah, I know it look like cheap cat food. But it is earthy / minerally goodness.

Like I said earlier, very, very good, but it tastes just like the liverwurst I grew up on.  Good memories.

Roasted Marrow, Part 2

As promised, I had a second go around on roasting some bone marrow.

The lucky volunteers for this blogging experiment.

As previously discussed, I wanted to try frying up rondelles to get a more even cook on the marrow.  Of course that meant that I had to get the marrow out of the bone.  The first problem that I noticed was that I didn’t look closely at the bones when I bought them.  Only one had the marrow running all the way through.  The other two were cut off an end of the bone in such a way that there was  bone completely covering one side.  This basically left me with one bone to work with and the other two to roast as I previously had done.  Which led me to my second problem of how to get the one chunk of marrow out.  I wasn’t about to use my good chef’s knife for obvious reasons.  I didn’t want to use our cleaver because I was legitimately concerned that I would completely destroy it (or me).  I didn’t have anything flat, small, and flexible enough to “cut” out the marrow.  Which led me to my toolbox.

Relax. I used new and clean blades.

The hacksaw had too fine of teeth to do much good.  The coping saw worked much better, but it still involved a lot of sawing.  I noticed when I was cleaning up that I had a blade with more aggressive teeth that would have saved me quite a bit of headache.  Oh, well.  Once I had cut completely through the bone, I just used the blade to cut between the marrow and the blade.  Once that was done, the marrow slid out relatively easily.  At this point, I was able to finally slice it into the rondelles.

The marrow put up a bit of a fight, but I won in the end.

Into the frying pan and the oven.  The bones roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes.  The ones in the frying pan were only there for about a minute on each side.

The two on the left are the oven roasted ones. The two on the right are the pan fried ones.

I enjoyed the parsley salad so much from last time that it was a foregone conclusion that I would make it again.

It looks pretty much the same as last time.

Pan frying was a much better option in my opinion because I had much better control over the cooking.  Although I’m not sure that it was worth the work to cut it out.  I couldn’t taste any difference in the flavors between the pan roasting and the oven roasting.  All in all, my opinion about marrow hasn’t changed since my last post on it.  It’s okay, but I would just as soon dip my toast into bacon grease.

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