Australians are oddly proud that they eat their national symbol. I’d say that Canadians can relate to this–beaver certainly isn’t available in your local grocery store as kangaroo is here, but how many national symbols were turned into hats for a few centuries?
Kangaroo populations have grown in Australia in recent decades, so the federal and state governments cooperate to perform herd cullings every year. As a meat-eater but as an environmentally-bent person, my reaction to this is twofold: initially, it seems gruesome and horrible to be killing 10% of a kangaroo herd because humans think that there are too many; but then again, if these cullings are happening, it’s better that the animal be used for something, as opposed to the alternative. Eating the meat from a wild animal that hasn’t been farmed and that has evolved to live in this rather harsh climate likewise makes sense to me.
Kangaroo meat is remarkably delicious. It smells a bit gamy raw, which can be a little off-putting; but once marinated and cooked, it tastes juicy and mellow, and pretty much like beef. This is the first dish I’ve made with kangaroo, and I look forward to trying a few more, as it is an affordable, nutritious (less than 2% fat, high in iron) and ethical choice for a red meat. Since you North Americans probably have no kangaroo meat readily available to you, I recommend trying this recipe with beef or lamb, or bison if you feel adventurous!
Seared Kangaroo Salad
Makes: Dinner for two
Cooking time: 30 minutes hands-on, 1.5 hours minimum
- 500 g / 1 lb package diced kangaroo meat
- 3 cups (enough for two) fresh spinach
- 1 apple, Pink Lady, Gala, or similar, cut into slices
- bunch fresh cilantro
- 1/4 cup whole almonds
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp goat’s cheese or feta cheese
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
- 2 tbsp fruit juice (preferably sweeter, like apple or mango instead of tangy, like orange)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp fresh cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp barbecue sauce
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1/4 tsp Vegemite (or 1 tsp soy sauce)
- 1/4 tsp minced ginger
Marinate raw (not frozen) kangaroo meat in a bowl with about 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper, a few glugs of balsamic vinegar, a few squirts of barbecue sauce, and enough red wine to mostly cover the meat. Cover and allow to sit for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
When beginning preparation for the meal, mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
Chop and fry the fresh garlic in about a tablespoon of oil and a pinch of sugar, until golden. Add almonds, and roast with garlic until lightly brown. Set aside. Drain the marinade from the kangaroo meat, and pat a bit dry with paper towel. In the same heated pan as you cooked the garlic, add a bit more oil and add kangaroo. Allow to sear on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Be very careful not to overcook your kangaroo meat, as its low fat content means it dries out easily! About halfway through cooking, add about 2 tablespoons of your dressing, toss well to coat. Remove from heat.
Arrange your spinach, chopped apple, and a few almonds on each plate–divide and add the kangaroo meat. Top with cilantro, remaining almonds, and the goat’s cheese. Drizzle with dressing, and enjoy with a glass of white wine!