A Pre-Spring Restoration

A llloooonnnngggg winter …. really long. Lots of snow, at least in the northern realms of the United States.


As an acupuncturist – this is what i’m seeing in my treatment room: People are tired, maybe exhausted. Health challenges are flaring up. A air of frustration, boredom and ennui seems to surround every aspect of people’s lives – whether it’s work, children, relationships. Most people are even bored with themselves!


So – what’s the fix? In a word …. nothing. This is a time to hold the space, hold the emptiness. Pause. Take a breath. As with that brief moment between the exhale and the inhalation, this climactic moment is in-between. Looking at nature, the sap, which has been descending since autumn and has remained underground in the roots, is starting to rise. The cold arrests that progress.
It stops. Waits. The weather warms up, it begins to rise again. A steady movement upwards, but not always so apparent. Especially on a day like today.


Go back in the Water element, the element of winter. Spring isn’t here yet (the Wood element). It’s Water still – dormancy, rest, rejuvenation. It’s the arena of the kidney and bladder and the bones. The kidney stores jing, our inherited energy that we either nurture or squander. The bones hold the depths of ancestry stored in our structure.


An easy and bone-nourishing recipe of roasted beef marrow bones is excellent to make. Right now. Keep the bones and after eating the marrow, you can also use them to make a beef bone stock. Both recipes are below. If you do not eat meat, then a seaweed broth would be a great restoration of energy for this still-in-winter (even if it’s not by choice!) moment.And like all moments, they pass. Spring is coming, and while you may be experiencing the frustration and impatience that it’s not heralded just yet, you can feel anticipation of its arrival.


ROASTED BEEF MARROW BONES

Ask your butcher for center cut organic beef marrow bones. Grass-fed is really the best if you can get it. Depending on the length, 3-4 per person will work.


METHOD
Rinse the bones. There may be meat and fat on the outside of the bone. You can scrape it off if you wish, but I usually leave it on because I use the bones later for broth (see below). Or if I’m in the mood, I’ll eat it right away.

BoneMarrowStand them up on end in a baking dish with a few inches of depth as they will ooze a bit from the bottom as they cook. I used a glass 8 x 8 sized bakepan, or a bread loaf pan – though cast iron would be great as well.


BoneMarrow2Put the wider end of the bones on the bottom, so they can remain securely upright as they cook. Roast at 450 degrees about 20 minutes, until the marrow is soft and bones are browned.


SERVING
(pick whatever is best for you, don’t do them all!)
salt

~ I prefer plain, perhaps with a crisp french bread to lap up the marrow, definitely a good salt – my favorite is a smoked         one, which just adds lusciousness to it
~ you could consider serving them with oven roasted garlic and a squeeze of lemon

~ parsley sprigs, chopped coarsely
~ cornichons
~ fermented vegetables are amazing with this as it balances the fatty deliciousness with a crisp tangy taste. And the probiotics help with digestion. Hawthorne Valley makes the best fermented vegetables but you can make your own really easily. I will do an upcoming post on this one!
~ I like a crisp french bread, but one time I used frozen potato puffs, cooked them at the same time (used the same container and didn’t mind any marrow fat the puffs soaked up). Then I dipped the potato puffs into the marrow to clean off my plate.

photo 4

BoneMarrow3

SAVE THE BONES! Beef Stock

photo 3You really want to use a slow cooker for this, as the lengthy simmering extracts the most of the nutrients and makes for a delicious broth. Also, I do not feel comfortable leaving a flame on my stove for 24-72 hours unless I’m up and about near the kitchen. Which I never am. Or will be.
If you are going to make the stock right away, after eating the bone marrow recipe, then when you roast the bones, put the carrots and onions in a pan and roast with the bones.

INGREDIENTS
about 4 pounds beef marrow bones that you roasted and ate the marrow out of(sometimes I put aside one or two extra bones so that the marrow is cooked in the broth)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
(you can roast with bone marrow, as described above, or just put them in with the stock)
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
1 teaspoon dried peppercorns, crushed
l bunch parsley

If you have time, soak the bones in the cooker before making the soup in the cider vinegar for an hour. If not, skip this step. (It takes more calcium out of the bones.)

In the cooker:
Put the bones, the roasted carrot and onions mix, (or raw, if you skipped this step), celery, thyme, parsley and peppercorns.Honey

Adjust the temperature on high. In about an hour, as it simmers, skim off the scum that has risen to the surface.

Turn down heat to low.

Cook 12- 72 hours (which is why i recommend a slow cooker as you can leave the house and not really pay attention to the broth as it cooks).

When finished, let cool and then strain. If there are some meat pieces, you can put them aside and either put them in casserole, or even later on in the finished broth. Or give them to your dog, who is eyeing you with those adorable puppy eyes, begging, begging …. oh all right, take it.

You can cool the pot in the fridge (or outdoors, if you make it animal-proof). Skim off the fat that will congeal on the top. Place the broth in freezable containers.

I just eat the broth plain. Sometimes I’ll cut up some veggies and make a soup, or even add barley.

But mostly, I just like the restorative, uplifting, delicious broth as is.

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