Roasted Bone Marrow and Honeyed Chicken

I bought this cook book, Bones, and read through it voraciously, and ever since I’ve been really craving and wanting to attempt my hand at bone marrow. The author just makes it sound so delicious. So in my adventure to Sanyuanli on Sunday, I stopped at the mutton and beef stall, and asked the little Uighyr man if he had bone marrow. He didn’t. So then I changed tactics, and asked if they sold the leg bones of cows. Surprise, surprise, they did! The girl behind the butcher table dug out two bones from the freezer, and I chose the smaller, since I’m only feeding this decadent treat to myself. I had her cut it into two pieces about 3 inches long.

First, I soaked the bone chunks in a mixture of water and two tablespoons of salt, for 24 hours, changing the water and salt 3 times.
Dried the bones, patting them down with paper towels, then placed in a lightly oiled baking dish. At 450F (230 C) for 20-25 minutes, when the marrow starts to puff slightly. Served very simply sprinkled with fleur de sel on slices of toasted baguette.

This was decadent. Delicious. Slippery, rich, buttery, meaty. I was transported with delight, fishing out little bits of the marrow with a tiny spoon to spread over bread. Some of the marrow rendered down in melted fat over the cutting board, in which I soaked some of the crusts of bread…I am the fattest panda. But it was so good!

Roasted bone marrow, sprinkled with fleur de sel, ready to be spread over crusty bread

Two servings per person make an excellent appetizer–there isn’t much more than a mouthful of marrow in the bones. For a main course, I turned to a plate of spaetzle and honeyed chicken. The spaetzle recipe I’ve posted before: 2 cups flour, 7 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cinnamon for a little extra. Refrigerate for an hour, then press through a wide holed colander into salted boiling water (This is messy and easier when you have a kitchen buddy, but somehow I managed, and only got spaetzle dough all over the stove). Remove with slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top, and into a prepared ice bath to stop cooking. Do not over crowd the pot or you’ll get one giant spaetzle blob! Half of the batch I froze after draining (spread out on a flat surface, once frozen place in a ziplock bag), and the rest I kept on ice until the chicken was done, and then tossed with butter and some torn up herbs.

The honeyed chicken is a recipe I found on a cooking website that tries to create all the food mentioned in Game of Thrones. I wanted to make a roast chicken in honor of Julia Child and her hundredth birthday, and her assertion that a well-executed roast chicken makes a good chef, and of course that “the best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the heck out of a chicken” but I was looking for a slightly different take then my normal roast. The GoT recipe included a lovely sounding honey sauce.

After brining the chicken over night, I patted it dry. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and slipped thin slices of lemon, garlic, and pats of butter UNDER the skin, before rubbing the skin down with olive oil and butter (to ensure crispiness), and throwing some celery and lemon into the cavity. Roast this for an hour and forty minutes at 400F, when pierced the juice from the thigh should run clear.

The honeyed part comes from a sauce made of reducing 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/3 cup honey, and dried fruit. Their recipe called for raisins, but I don’t like them, so I did with a mixture of chopped dried dates and dried cranberries, and I added some lemon juice as well. Mix this on the stove until it has thickened and the fruit is plump. Once the chicken is done, spoon the sauce all over it.

Herb and butter tossed spaetzle and sweet corn, honeyed roast chicken

The honeyed sauce really made the entire dish. Roast chicken is roast chicken, which is good and all, but the sauce elevated it. A little bit sharp and vinegar tangy, the dried fruits were sweet and tart and were the perfect accompaniment to a bite of chicken and noodle, although next time I’d probably only use cranberries and not dates, the dates were a bit mealy-textured.

After gorging myself and watching old episodes of No Reservations, I shredded up the rest of the meat off the bones. The skin, fat, and carcass I used to make a giant pot of stock, and while that was bubbling away merrily on the stove, I became a taco-making robot.

I now have a drawer full of tacos in my freezer for quick and easy future consumption. I whipped up a batch of guacamole and salsa, caramelized an onion and tossed in some sweet corn, then shredded cheese. Assembled with sour cream and the chicken, then tightly wrapped up in tin foil and popped in the freezer. Instant dinners! Pro-tip: microwave the tortillas in a damp towel for a minute, they become more pliable for rolling without tearing. Second pro-tip: burritos are better than tacos, get the larger tortillas so you can put more filling in.


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