Saturday, 1 May 2010

Queensland - How to eat Kangaroo

I decided to use the word 'eat' in my title, rather than 'cook', as I didn't want to give the impression that I really know how to cook kangaroo.  This was my first time to try, so I'm sure I would have different ideas about how to cook it next time round.

It's not a specifically Queensland dish, as such - but I thought blogging about Queensland would give me a chance to do something more adventurous and try to source kangaroo meat, rather than substituting with something more familiar, such as beef!  The adventure began with finding the meat.  I imagine you can find most things in London, if you know where to look, but you won't exactly find kangaroo at your local supermarket or in your local butcher's. 

So I had a butcher's online and found They do all kinds of exotic meats, including kangaroo - everything is kept in big freezers, you place your order online and go to pick it up the next day, or a few days after.  They also do deliveries around the UK, if you don't live in London.  Their office is very close to Queenstown Road station, which is in the heart of Battersea, South London.  I'd only ever passed through Battersea before and I felt incredibly important striding along with my kangaroo meat in hand, between a myriad of railway lines, in the shadow of Battersea Power Station. 

I must admit, it felt strange handling this meat that had been flown from the other side of the world - not a very green thing to do, but all part of the experience.  I really wanted to cook kangaroo steaks, rather than burgers or steak pieces in a casserole and I found a recipe online with a nice mushroom and white wine sauce.

I kind of did the menu back to front, making the sauce first and then cooking the kangaroo steaks.

The ingredients included:

Rice, kangaroo meat (two steaks at about 250g each). Mushrooms, one onion, some flour, butter, vegetable oil, dry Australian white wine, coconut milk and a big handful of coriander. 

I started by preparing the rice.  Then put the onions and mushrooms into a pan, fried them for a few minutes before adding the white wine.  I let them reduce until most of the wine had evaporated, then added in the coconut milk, sprinking in some black pepper (you can also use salt, but I tend to avoid it in my cooking). 

I've eaten kangaroo before, but only in burgers and I don't think I ever really understood the texture of kangaroo meat.  It seemed totally different to beef steaks, the feel of the meat was more like tofu or something, it's hard to describe.  Also, the colour, as you can see in the photograph, was an almost luminous red, unlike any meat I've ever seen before.   

Kangaroo is considered to be a game meat, which should be eaten rare to medium rare and this was the most difficult part of the experience - ie. knowing how much I should actually cook the meat.  I guess the reason the recipe demands that you coat the steaks in flour, is to stop you from over-cooking the meat.

I like my steak medium rare in any case, so it wasn't a problem for me and I don't mind a wee bit of blood on my plate!  My partner Zhenya, on the other hand, likes his steaks well-done so, even after frying the meat, we had to pop his in our George Foreman grill to cook it a little bit more.

Again, although I've eaten kangaroo meat before, this is the first time that I really tasted it properly.  I'm convinced that you lose a lot of the flavour from game if you cook it too much, which is why the kangaroo burgers I've had previously didn't really taste of anything. 
The meat I had last night was delicious - really tender and almost sweet.  It was incredibly filling as well.  I don't actually eat a lot of meat, I usually stick to veggie food during the week and have some meat at the weekend, so it really felt like a feast!  Not sure I could eat kangaroo steaks all the time :-)

Image credits:

All photos were taken by me. 

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