Chef Dennis Marron of The Grille at Morrison House is taking to the streets. Next Saturday he will take on a good ol’ fashioned physical challenge as he compete in the Marine Corps Marathon. If you’re running too, Chef Marron will be serving a special Pre-Marathon Carb-Loading Dinner for $25 at The Grille at Morrison House on Saturday night. Good luck to all runners!
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
I have two. My dehydrator and my over sized tweezers. The dehydrator is fun but my tweezers; I simply can’t do anything without them.
What is the most overrated food/technique in restaurants today?
I would never say any food or technique is overrated. As a chef I feel the need to embrace all cooking techniques and styles. If I am close-minded with my job, I wouldn’t leave much room for success and creativity. I am constantly pushing my cooks to try new techniques (and old ones too), and to eat food that they don’t think they’ll normally like.
If you were to open a restaurant with a different type of cuisine than what you are cooking now, what would it be?
I love the food I am producing now but if I were to step away from the world of fine dinning I would try my hand at a BBQ joint, Fish Fry at the Beach, a French Bistro, Tropical Asian cuisine or a Chop House. As you can see, I love all types of food which is a good thing in my line of work.
What is your favorite local product or purveyor to work with?
Right now, I’m a huge fan of Virginia cheeses and I love anything from Meadow Creek Dairy. I lived in the Midwest for a while so I know good cheese when I have it, and Virginia has really stepped up to the plate over the last few years.
What is your biggest customer pet peeve?
I wish that customers were knowledgeable about their steak temperatures – it’s one thing I certainly work hard on through staff training as well.
What do you drink/eat after work?
It all depends on my mood. Sometimes, I’m happy with a good beer and some lasagna. And if I’m up for a late trip from Old Town, I’ll make the trek to Ben’s Chili Bowl.
What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
At home, I love to keep things simple and take my time preparing meals, so I’d have to say a roasted chicken or a comforting pot-au-feu.
Click below for Chef Marron’s recipe for Pot-Au-Feu…
Photo from Darko Zagar
Chef Dennis Marron’s Pot-Au-Feu
• 2 pound piece of beef shank, with bone
• 2 pound piece of beef chuck
• 2 pounds beef ribs
• 2 pounds large beef marrowbones
• 1 bottle red wine
• 3 whole cloves
• 1 large white onion, peeled
• 2 cinnamon sticks
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 2 tablespoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon fresh whole nutmeg
• 4 bay leaves
• 2 sprigs of rosemary
• 1 bunch thyme
• 5 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
• 12 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
• 8 leeks, washed, cut lengthwise and then into large pieces
• 1 1/2 pounds baby turnips, peeled
• 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
Tie the beef shank, chuck, and ribs into tight bundles with string and place in a stockpot or large crock pot.
Wrap the marrowbones in cheesecloth, secure tightly with string, and place it in with the meat. Pour cold water into the stockpot to cover the ingredients.
Bring the mixture to a boil, skimming often. As soon as the water boils, turn the heat down so that it is just at a low simmer. Push the cloves into the onion and place it into the stockpot, along with a separate cheesecloth bundle containing the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Season the mixture with the salt and whole nutmeg and continue simmering it, uncovered, for 2 ½ hours.
Add red wine to keep the meat and marrowbones covered. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
Wrap the celery, carrots, leeks, turnips, and potatoes each in a separate cheesecloth bundle, securing them tightly with string. Add vegetables to the pot and continue simmering for 40 minutes. Check the vegetables for doneness, and then remove any that have turned tender and cooked through. Remove each vegetable and meat bundle from the pot, unwrap it, and arrange the vegetables in groups around the meat on a deep serving platter. Grate light amount of whole nutmeg over top.
Discard the clove-studded onion and strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Return the broth to a clean saucepan and bring it to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, until it has reduced in volume and has a good, strong flavor. Season to taste. Ladle some of the broth over the meat and vegetables and reserve some in a serving bowl.
Scoop the soft marrow from the bones and spread it on the toasted baguette. Serve with the coarse sea salt, cornichons, mustard, and horseradish.