- 3 beef marrow shin bones (20cm long), split lengthways
- 4 cups pine needles or 2 cups applewood smoking chips (see note)
- 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
- 130 ml light olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, sliced
- 3 small golden shallots, 1½ thinly sliced, remaining finely chopped
- 150 gm picked stinging nettles (about 500gm on stems; see note)
- 100 gm spelt (½ cup)
- 150 ml white wine
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- 200 gm broccoli leaves or baby kale (see note)
- Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
- 1Light konro Japanese binchotan or wood or coal barbecue. Once the flames die down but before it gets too hot place the marrow on the grill cut-side down, then throw pine needles or smoking chips on the coals, place either the lid or a bowl or tray over the top to capture the smoke, and keep adding pine needles so the bones get constant smoke (4 minutes). Flip the bones over and grill uncovered until jellied in texture without much sign of blood (10-15 minutes). Scrape marrow from bones (reserve bones) into a fine strainer and press into the bowl of an electric mixer, then whisk until it’s white and fluffy (20 minutes). Set aside.
- 2Place reserved bones and chicken stock in a large saucepan and bring to the boil (5 minutes), then strain and set aside (discard bones).
- 3Heat 50ml oil in a saucepan over low heat, add garlic and sliced shallot, and sauté until translucent (2-3 minutes). Increase heat to high, add nettles and cook until liquid evaporates and leaves starts to break down (2-3 minutes). Add 375ml bone stock, bring to the boil, then purée with a hand-held blender, season to taste and set aside.
- 4Meanwhile, boil spelt in 250ml water in a small saucepan until par-boiled (6-7 minutes). Set aside to cool in water (20-30 minutes), then add 1 tsp salt, stir and stand for 5 minutes. Strain.
- 5Combine chopped shallot with 1 tbsp whipped marrow in a large saucepan and stir over low heat until translucent (3-5 minutes). Increase heat to high, add spelt and stir for a further minute, then deglaze pan with wine and simmer to reduce by half (2-3 minutes). Add 1.2 litres bone stock and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, and spelt is al dente, adding more stock if necessary (25-30 minutes). Stir in nettle purée and simmer until thickened slightly (3-4 minutes; the mixture should be very wet with a small amount of grain). Set aside for 1-2 minutes to let grains absorb more liquid, then fold in remaining whipped marrow to taste. Add lemon juice and salt and cracked pepper to taste. Keep warm.
- 6Heat about 2 tsp remaining oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add broccoli leaves in batches, adding more oil each time, and fry until toasted lightly at the edges and stems weaken slightly (1-2 minutes). Drain on paper towels and season lightly.
- 7Serve nettle-spelt mixture topped with toasted broccoli leaves and finish with a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil.
Applewood smoking chips are available from barbecue suppliers such as BBQ Aroma (bbqaroma.com.au). Pine needles need to be gathered from a forest. Wear gloves when preparing stinging nettles, and order them ahead from a greengrocer; if they’re unavailable, use a mix of spinach and silverbeet leaves. Broccoli leaves and baby kale are available from select greengrocers.
Drink Suggestion: Wild-fermented sour ale.