What is it about cute animals that causes such controversy when they’re turned into tasty dishes ? Rob certainly knows what I’m talking about ever since recreating an El Bulli masterpiece of deep fried bunny ears (!) Now any card carrying PETA member will get sufficiently riled at the mere thought of eating meat, whether it be sheep, cows, pigs, or other… but nothing fires up those latent animal rights activists, who might otherwise let meaty bygones be bygones, more than something cute and furry on the menu.
Now I’m not about to start harvesting kangaroo ears or tails, or paws, and turning them into some kind of elaborate sorbet that requires a half tonne of liquid nitrogen and an industrial meat mincer to create. I’m much more concerned about eating something tasty, rather than pushing any sort of quasi political agenda, however I do find it interesting that there is still something about eating our native animal and national emblem that a great deal of Australians find off putting. We’re still really working out whether we even have a national dish.
The thing is though… Kangaroo is delicious meat. It’s dark and rich and gamey, and if seasoned well and cooked properly, can evoke all the melt in your mouth qualities of a well cooked hunk of beef. Of course, Kangaroos aren’t renowned for the amount of fat they have on them, so if you overcook it, it will turn out dry, and hard, and rubbery, and terrible. Along the lines of one of Dad’s lambs fry (fried liver) breakfasts from my childhood.
Don’t expect me to start draping myself in the flag, eating witchety grubs for breakfast, and seasoning everything with wattleseed. But I think Kangaroo is something that everyone should try at least once so they can say they have. The sooner we break out of the mould of thinking of ourselves either as a former British colony, or as the Mediterranean relocated down under… the sooner we’ll be able to embrace much more of our native produce in new and interesting ways.
- Kangaroo fillets (the thicker the better)
- Olive oil, salt, to season
- Szechuan peppercorns
- cherry tomatoes
- red onion
- red wine
How I made mine
So basically rub the fillets all over with olive oil and season well with salt (perhaps trying some Murray River salt as mentioned by Linda in the comments recently), then grind the Szechuan peppercorns up and rub it all over the meat. Leave that to sit for a while, and in the meantime, put the potatoes on to boil.
When the potatoes are almost cooked, but still quite firm, take them out and plunge them into an ice bowl (or bowl of cold water). Then carefully (they’ll still be hot inside) peal them. Cooking them in the skins supposedly keeps the flavour in while they’re cooking… but if you can’t be bothered, peel them beforehand.
Once they’re peel, slice them into little round pieces for sautéing. Season a pan with olive oil on high heat and very quickly fry some garlic for flavour, then throw in the potato slices and a good stick of butter. Sauté the potatoes on a high heat until they are nice and crispy and golden on the outside.
Now we’re ready to cook the kangaroo. Remember… less is more… less time cooking = more juices and flavour left in the meat… obviously there’s an optimal point for everyone, but I personally don’t go much past rare when cooking kangaroo. So put it into a hot pan with olive oil and sear quickly all over for a few minutes (depending on how thick the piece is). Give it a poke to try and work out how done it is, and when it’s close to being done, take it out and put it into the oven to finish cooking. It should only be in a moderate oven for a 10 minutes or so before being ready. Take it out of the oven, let it to sit and rest for a few minutes, and then slice it up into elegant morsels.
When you’re done with the kangaroo, deglaze the pan juices with red wine, add your cherry tomatoes, red onion, and a little sugar for a caramelising effect to the sauce. Reduce it down until the onions and tomatoes are falling apart and the sauce is thick… And you’re done.
Arrange your potatoes and kangaroo on a plate and spoon the sauce over the top. I served mine with a robust Shiraz (the Croftiers Shiraz from Houghtons in the Swan Valley), which fit the full flavours of the kangaroo perfectly.
If that isn’t a slice of Australia, I don’t know what is !
11 thoughts on “Szechuan Seared Kangaroo w/ Sauted potatoes and cherry tomato jus”
I had kangaroo when I lived in Sydney for a month a few years ago. It’s really quite tasty, and it’s healthy too. And while I’m not up for cute bunny ears, since kangaroos are considered a rodent in Aussie, I decided to try it. Twice. It’s REALLY good.. but then I played with them and fed them for a day and I just couldn’t do it anymore…
The first time I tried kangaroo it was overcooked and had that overdone/rubberry taste to it. Enough to put anyone off forever. Then I went to a bbq being hosted by a friends friend who was a butcher and voila. He had marinated it in olive oil and simple spices and we had it rare. Delish!! Totally agree Matt, it needs to be served rare. Nice post and cool recipe.
I want to try kangaroo but I just can’t bring myself to. Not because of any patriotic reason, I don’t know why. I cooked it on the Great BBQ Challenge and even then I didn’t get to taste it. Apparently I knew enough not to over cook it. Your photo is superb.
great shot matt…looks cooked to perfection.
I’m a big roo fan too…always wanted to give roo tail soup a go…thanks for reminding me…
This would be a great ANZAC day dish
“O kangaroo, O kangaroo,
Be grateful that you’re in the zoo
And not transmuted by a boomerang
To zestful, tasty kangaroo meringue.”
You wouldn’t happen to know if kangaroo can be bought in the States, would you? I’d love to give it a try.
BTW… I tagged you with a “Thinking Blog Award” And this was one of the reasons… Details at my blog.
Wow, kangaroo meat…that’s new! It looks like beef or any dark meat, I wouldn’t have guessed it was kangaroo.
Kangaroo is delish when not overcooked! I had it at the Stokehouse – great views, ambience and food. Yum!
Now where’s that koala that fell out of the tree?
I think you’re the first food blogger (other than myself) that I’ve found cooking kangaroo. I heard that it isn’t so popular in Australia, not only because of the whole national identity thing, but also because it’s considered a poor quality meat. Is that true? If so, I can’t imagine why!
We get the meat here in London frozen. It’s quite expensive but I like to treat myself with it every now and again. I like the sound of your recipe. A new store here has just started selling fresh szechuan peppercorns so I’ll give it a try when my next paycheque comes in.
You may be right there… I’ve seen a few other aussie bloggers cooking kangaroo, but I’d have to say it’s still far from mainstream. As to why… I’m not entirely sure. The national identity thing is a bit tenuous personally, if people knew the extent of the damage that over population of kangaroo’s has on native habitat, they probably wouldn’t look at them so fondly. So I guess it’s perception. Maybe like serving up squirrel in the UK ?
The meat itself is also an acquired taste too… As you’d know It’s a gamey meat with much less fat… so it really suffers from overcooking.
But good on you for spreading the word over there :)
i had a kangaroo today here in The Netherlands!
i used to be a chef, and i was told to bake it as a steak (1 or 2min singe 4/5minutes low) and it was wonderful and lean with a soy sauce marinade.
i baked some unmarinated to see what the basic flavour was, and i might use it in a stew it’s very nice and has a wild taste which is great for stews.
it’s always nice to try new things ;)