Beef Bone Broth / Lifeline Cheese
Montana Roots - Livingston
Root Cellar Foods - Bozeman
Harlequin Produce - Arlee
Fourth Wave Farm - Hamilton
Whole & Nourished - Bozeman
Mountain Meadow Bone Broth - Ronan / Lifeline Organic Dairy - Victor
Bone broth has enjoyed a good deal of attention in recent years for it's healthful qualities, and while it's certainly nourishing, it's not a new concept. It's essentially stock made from roasted beef bones (or chicken or pork bones) that's been simmered for many hours to extract all the collagen from the bones. Don't be surprised if it's more of a Jello consistency at cold temperatures. Heat it up and it will melt into a rich, flavorful liquid that you can either sip on as-is, or use in any way you like to use other good broths or stocks: soups, stews, risotto, braises, etc. Keep it frozen if you're not planning to use it right away.
Sunflower Shoots are just what they sound like - little tiny sunflower plants. They're nutty and a little sweet, and delicious on salads, soups, and sandwiches.
Braised Watermelon Radishes
Braising radishes makes them so tender and sweet, you won't believe they're radishes. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated. Serves ~4.
1 Tbs butter or oil
1 small shallot, or 1/4 of an onion (optional)
1 lb watermelon radishes, scrubbed well or peeled, trimmed, and sliced ~1/2 inch thick
1/2 C beef bone broth, or any other broth that you like (veggie, chicken, etc), plus more if needed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: a drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar
Optional: a splash of cider vinegar or lemon juice
Optional: garnish with chopped sunflower shoots, or any tender herb you like (chive, parsley, basil...)
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot/onion and a big pinch of salt and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Add sliced radishes and broth and cover the pan. Cook ~10 minutes, or until radishes are tender to your liking, stirring once or twice. Once they're tender, uncover and continue to cook until liquid reduces slightly, ~1 minute longer. While it's simmering, taste a radish and adjust the flavors to your liking using salt and pepper, a little sweetener, and/or a splash of acidity. Everyone's palate is different, so there's no one "right way," as long as it tastes good. Add any microgreens or herbs, if using, and serve warm.
French Beet Soup
I made this soup using the same method as French Onion Soup because I wanted a beet soup that was simple, without all the ingredients of borscht (though borscht is great, and I suggest you try the recipe linked online). Beets and onions are very different vegetables, but both can be made extra delicious by slow cooking in butter. You can top it with a slice of toasted bread and broiled gruyere cheese, just like French Onion Soup, or try some of the other garnish ideas below. Makes 4 1-C servings.
1/4 C butter (you can also use oil, but butter adds a lovely richness)
1 lb red beets, shredded
1/2 an onion, any color, sliced thin
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme (marjoram works, too)
1 bay leaf
1/2 C wine - I used red, but white would also work
1-2 Tbs all-purpose flour (or sub 1-2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in broth or water)
4 C beef broth - use your pint of bone broth + 2 C of another tasty beef broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional Garnishes: toasted bread or croutons; shredded gruyere or other melty cheese; goat cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche, or plain yogurt; chopped sunflower shoots, or fresh herbs like dill or parsley
I don't usually bother peeling beets, but at this point in the winter, the beets we're eating have been stored for several months and it might be worth peeling to freshen them up. Do whatever feels right to you. Definitely remove and discard the tops and tails. Shredding red beets is messy business: a box grater can do the job, but if you have a food processor or standing mixer with a grater attachment, use that.
Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the shredded beets, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine well and let cook on low or med-low, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, 40-50 minutes, maybe more. You want the beets to get soft and almost jammy, and to cook down in volume by half or more. You can speed things up on a higher heat, but you will have to stir much more frequently and watch for burning.
After 40 minutes or so, add the wine and let simmer, turning heat up if needed, until the liquid has evaporated, ~5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and sprinkle beets with flour, if using, then stir frequently and cook another 5 minutes or so, until a nice brown fond forms on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. [If using a cornstarch slurry instead of flour, whisk it in after the broth.] Let everything simmer ~10 minutes, then taste and add salt or pepper as needed. Garnish however you like and serve.