Bone marrow is the beautifully fatty, nutrient dense insides of a bone. Contrary to popular belief, bones are anything but hollow. They are filled with fat, nutrients and a significant blood supply. This is also the site of immune cell production.
Many cultures such as Canadian Natives treat marrow as the most nutritious and best part of the animal. The Chinese value its many healing properties such as a digestive health support. The level of healthy fat and collagen is important in regenerating the cells in the lining of the gut and is important for wound healing too! Marrow is also key for healing a leaky gut, which can lead to digestive issues, allergies, asthma, eczema and more.
Eating bone marrow can increase your white blood cell count, which is basically our immune system army.
Always remember to buy grass-fed, clean and happy bones from your local butcher. Ask questions like:
- Was the animal fed on non-GMO feed?
- Was it grass fed or at least finished (Canadian winters make pasteur raised cattle a lot harder to come by)
- Is the meat free of growth hormones?
- Was the animal given antibiotics?
Basically you want to decipher whether it was factory farmed or produced on a small, health-conscious farm.
This is especially important because although the marrow stores nutrients, it may also store fat-soluble toxins such as pesticides and other environmental toxins.
For me, Bone marrow has always been translated into the epic fit-for-a-queen meal....OSSO BUCO. This is a traditional Milanese dish that's slowly cooked with tomatoes and soffritto (carrot, celery and onion) . The slow extraction process breaks down the collagen inside the marrow and turns the sauce into a creamy, rich, deeply flavoured meal. In fact, its so rich that it's often the meal recommended for that big Barolo or Brunello wine you've been storing away for a special occasion. Serve on top a bowl of creamy polenta and you will not be disappointed!
This recipe is for a slow cooker set on the lowest setting, allowed to cook for 9 hours.
- 2 nice sized Veal shanks (about 4-5 lbs each)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 3 celery stalks plus leaves, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, whole, peeled (use fresh when in season)
- 3 juniper berries
- 3 cloves
- 5 bay leaves
- Aromatics may also include fresh rosemary or thyme
- flour for dusting
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 2 glugs of white wine
- Salt and pepper each shank on both sides. Dust in flour and sear on med-high heat in a sauce pan with olive oil. Cook for a couple minutes per side until a crust is formed. Add to the slow cooker.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, scrapping off the golden bits with a plastic utensil, add to slow cooker.
- Add vegetables, canned tomato, herbs and spices as well as 1/2 cup of water.
- Let cook for 9 hours or until the marrow becomes soft and easily extruded. My slower only had 2 settings, so I left it on the lower of the two settings.