Tuesday, 22 November 2011

“What's that Skip, you fancy something Italian?” Kangaroo Bolognese...

It's funny how some people react when you mention Kangaroo featuring in a dish you cooked or tried, I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems to divide, some love the idea whilst others appear perplexed. Sure I understand the notion of it being a national symbol; many seem to see kangaroos as cute and cuddly, up there alongside koalas for example, but there's some irony in the fact that neither are particularly like this most of the time in the wild. Not that koalas are eaten regularly, but I digress! Kangaroo seems a logical additional protein choice for a variety of reasons, but principally, alongside more familiar meats, such as beef, chicken, lamb etc, here is a relatively sustainable and low impact product. There is some argument about how sustainable, but there is no comparison between the relative environmental impact of cattle vs kangaroo.

From the consumers point of view this meat is interesting for a few reasons: it can be seared as steaks for a lean and flavoursome dish, and many prize the gamey quality of the meat. This high quality, it's leaness and flavour also suggest it would make excellent carpaccio. However for this dish I'm using a mince, the main concern with any preparation of roo remains ensuring the meat does not dry out due it's extreme leaness (for those unfamiliar with it think of venison). It's handy to use a little bit more oil or even use another fat or stock to maintain the delicacy of the meat.  For steaks, in the form of marinades and bastes; in this case a little more olive oil in the initial cooking process.

For this take on a dish possibly done to death, I feel the kangaroo brings such a wonderful depth of flavour and a welcome twist and sense of difference. It is also intentionally an easy one to prepare regardless of your skill level.  The nervous or novice can do this one and it's great for the pros when you want something good, but don't want to be slaving in the kitchen for hours.  I love cooking, just not all the time!


The dish goes nicely with a Cruickshank 2007 Shiraz...
(See it in the previous post)
 Olive oil
2 small to med onions
3 cloves garlic
500g kangaroo mince
½ tsp cumin
1 tsp mixed herbs
A little dried chilli
Good grind of black & white pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves dried (really a matter of taste, I'd use less if fresh)
Some of my superdupa pork belly stock! (beef stock is ok if you don't have the former) *
2 400g tins of tomato
a little quality red wine (2 dessert spoons approx)
parmesan cheese

Piling it all in the pot

Sweat off and lightly brown the onion in a little oil, throw in a little salt as this nears completion. Add your mince and garlic, cook until the meat is coloured through. pop the spices in and let this cook a little as you open the tins of tomato. Whack these and your stock in the mix and combine. You should have quite a lot of liquid, but this is good as I just let it all cook for a couple of hours and reduce gradually to a rich sauce, really the longer the better, but if your low on time turn the heat up. Right at the end of the process I add the small amount of wine as an essence to the sauce, it gives a lovely subtle lift to the flavour.  You may like to use the same wine you will serve with the food, if your having wine.  (Who makes statements like that?  Of course you shall have wine!) You can also check your seasoning at this point as well and adjust accordingly.

Mix through al dente cooked pasta of your choice, I like Fettucine, but the choice is between you and your pantry shelves.  Garnish with parsley and parmesan if desired.

*My Pork stock is the rendered material of an oven roasted piece of pork belly, there's onion, spices, wine and various other goodies that went into the roast originally, anyway I froze the remaining liquid and have been using it in sauces and other dishes to give depth and richness. It's great! If I don't use this or another “proper” stock, I've been using good quality stock cubes in recipes, this would be fine here.

Skippy rates it 5 stars ;)  Actually reflecting on it, the thought of Cannibalistic Kangaroos digging into this is somewhat disturbing, or the seed of a new horror film...  On that note, enjoy!

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