Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Marrow = Wiggly

I've been having a very meaty week. I really prefer vegetables, and I've had great success feeding Cranky non-meat or "meat-lite" meals. But he'd eat meat every day if he could.
Well, the other day I woke up hungry for a steak. My head still lying on the pillow, I turned to Cranky and informed him that we were in for a meaty meal. I knew he'd jump at the chance, and he did.
We went to Boca steakhouse in Novato, where I had a stupendiculatastic hanger steak. I don't usually expect to enjoy eating meat this much, but my steak was guuuud.
On the way out, we ran into an old friend who proposed a dinner date later on at the same restaurant, so it looks like I'll be having another meaty meal tonight.
And what happened in between those two meaty meals?
Cranky, damn him, decided to look at The Fatted Calf's newsletter. He discovered that they'd be selling a Brasato al Midolo, aka Tuscan-style pot roast made from Marin Sun Farms beef, stuffed with marrow and seasoned with rosemary and black pepper.
You can read that description again, and if you don't get absolutely gobsmacked by the phrase "stuffed with marrow," well, here, can I offer you a slice of tofurkey? You just wouldn't understand.
Cranky got all wiggly and wouldn't stand still (this was still really early Saturday morning) and I was defeated. Defeated by Cranky's wiggliness? Maybe a little (I can usually stare him down pretty good). Defeated by "stuffed with marrow," most decidedly.
"OK," I said, "get dressed and run over and see if they even have any left that haven't been pre-ordered." I think he was first in line.
Meanwhile I looked up how to cook this hunk of protein (Fatted Calf recommended a very slow braise in wine and shallots; good idea, and they said it would be even better the next day). In Paul Bertolli's book, Cooking By Hand, I learned that this kind of meat is most successfully sliced cold, so next day it was to be.
Let the cooking commence: First, brown the meat all over in a Dutch oven. Then apply shallots and liquids (we ended up using a kooky but surprisingly delicious combination of red wine, turkey stock and vegetable broth). Place lid on and slide pot into oven. Wait three or four hours, and a most amazing thing happens: your nose suddenly tells you the meat is done. The aromas have been pretty nice throughout, but there's a magic moment when you smell completion. And, yep, the meat is so-o-o tender and the marrow has leaked out and dissolved into the braising liquid and the shallots have collapsed. Oh. (And you slap your forehead and think, "Hey, those Fatted Calf kids must have remembered to salt the meat, because I didn't, but this tastes perfect.")
So the meat gets wrapped in plastic, tightly, and both it and the braising liquid, still in the pot, just go straight into the fridge (after cooling). And the next day you pick off the layer of fat from the liquid and gawk in happy fascination at the jelliness of the former liquid. It's wiggly! Just like you knew it would be. It's so wiggly, you have to reheat it to melt it, in order to strain out the tired shallots. And you reduce it on the stovetop, just a little... And when you finally spoon some into your mouth, it's so sticky, it glues your lips together.
Jeez. Maybe I'll just order a salad tonight.

Serving notes: Each plate got a layer of cooked Sardinian pasta called Fregola Sarda, flooded with a ladleful of the tasty lip glue braising liquid. The meat slices were rewarmed briefly, covered, in the microwave, and then placed on top of the pasta. I think another spoonful of lip glue would go nicely over the meat, don't you?

22 comments:

ChrisB said...

I'm drooling here sounds wonderful.

drbiggles said...

Hooyah! I got me one of those fancy hams, some boudin and fegatelli meat sticks.

You don't eat meat every day? Eh?

I think I do, not sure though.

Biggles

Sam said...

Unfortunately I think my mum is thinking of a different kind of marrow - the marrow she victimized us with when we were kids, the disgusting vegetable marrow with its watery flesh and woody skin, not the fatty marrow from the centre of an animal bone that I think you are describing here.

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks, Chris!

Dr. Biggles: Ohgosh, yeah, we also got andouille and mortadella. Meatmeatmeat.

Sam: Whoopsy-daisy. Courgette-kinda-like thing? No, you're right. It was bone goo.

kudzu said...

Bone goo?? Sounds like something my favorite 6-year-old boy would create! Have to say how jealous I am, suddenly being on a fat-restricted regimen (after anything but that since before Christmas). But I was right there with that roast, in my dreams.

tammy said...

Good God, I love a good braise. The wigglier, the better.

Tea said...

Wow, this sorta, mostly, almost vegetarian wants to come over for dinner!:-)

Stacie said...

meat candy!

Anita said...

Gorgeous! We forgot to preorder, and they were sold out when we got there. Oh well, there's always THIS week.

Dagny said...

Nothing like some really good meat. The cats keep looking at me wondering why I am drooling. Or perhaps they are thinking that I will give them some meat soon.

Kevin said...

Moaaannn...

Cindy said...

Marin Sun Farms is offering a tour in March, just in case you wanted to visit the source of your pot roast.

Did you have the duck fries at Boca? Supposed to be really good.

ChrisB said...

Sam 'bone goo' as you put it is very full of goodness.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: I can actually feel a layer of new padding around my middle, so that type of eating is now officially over for me too. Sweet meat dreams to you.

Tammy: I'm a wiggle collector. Got a freezer full of Thanksgiving turkey wiggle, and some new chicken wiggle in the fridge.

Tea: I wish you *had* been there; etiquette/research failure on my part... Soon, hey?

Stacie: Very sticky meat candy!

Anita: Oh, now I feel like I ate your roast!

Dagny: The neat thing is that it's an "inferior" cut of meat, which means it's all full of connective tissue, which melts down into that lip glue. My favorite meat is cheap. :)

Kevin: I'm gonna ratchet up the moan factor. It came out slightly crumbly, though terribly moist and tender, sort of like beef cheeks. Nyah!!

Cindy: Thanks! I love to visit West Marin, so I'll look into it. I've had the duck fries previously. They are good! But they're not memorably outstanding... Then again, the kitchen is really kicking ass these days, so maybe the fries are super-stellar now.

Chris: I want more.

drbiggles said...

Hey,

Check out that Andouille closely. Chuck prepared the meat with a knife, not a grinder. Ain't that fricken something?

Biggles

Anna Haight said...

My mother used to tell me the marrow was the best part. Looks good enough to chew through the computer for...

Sam said...

I never put it as bone goo - that was cookiecrumb who said that, and anyway I have nothing against bone marrow, it is vegetable marrow I take issue with.

drbiggles said...

Hey Sam,

Vegetable Marrow. We should start a web site, www.novegetablemarrow.com. FIGHT THE POWER !!!

Biggles

Cyndi said...

Oh my. Sounds so good. I love the term "bone goo." That plus the crispy edges make me swoon.

Bonnichiwa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The said...

Dammit, dammit. I wanted that roast, I did I did, and I forgot to preorder it and then Saturday came and I just couldn't get up early. And now I am jealous, green as Sam's mum's vegetable marrow or possibly greener. Yum. I wouldn't have known how to cook it though, but you're reminded me I own "Cooking by Hand" but what good is it if the hand has only opened the Whole Pig chapter?

DairyQueen said...

Sorry, those last two were me. I'm so confused now that Google has merged our Blogger and Google accounts, since I have multiples of both!