Kangaroo Steaks with Red Wine Sauce
I’ll eventually include wallaby in my Tasmanian produce series, but for today I’ll be talking kangaroo. Tasmania, does of course have one species of true kangaroo, the Forrester’s kangaroo, but they’re a wholly protected species. Anyway, I digress.
Kangaroo meat is becoming much more widely available these days; even the larger supermarkets commonly stock a range of steaks, roasts, sausages (“kanga bangas”), burgers and mince.
I know some of you will react in horror at eating “Skippy”, but, well, if you have no compunction at eating baby baa-lambs and moo-cows, then what’s the problem? In fact, from both ethical and environmental views, there is a lot to recommend ‘roo meat.
With regards to animal welfare, kangaroos are game meat: they simply grow in the wild, and being well adapted to do so, will do fairly well even in the harshest of times in Australia’s notoriously fickle climate. Unlike domesticated livestock, kangaroos simply live out their lives in the wild, until – bang! – goodnight, nurse. Kangaroos don’t spend any time in feedlots, being transported long distances, or experience the distress of the abattoir.
Environmentally, there is a lot to recommend ‘roo meat. Soft-footed kangaroos cause much less damage to soils than cattle. Uncontrolled kangaroo populations can also lead to overgrazing and environmental degradation in National Parks. The kangaroo industry is heavily regulated. An annual quota, based on population surveys, is issued to licensed hunters. The RSPCA has described Kangaroo harvesting as “one of the most humane methods of animal slaughter possible”.
Kangaroo also has a lot to recommend it on health grounds: despite common concerns about disease, kangaroos are generally very healthy animals, and relatively little meat is rejected by hygiene inspectors. Kangaroo meat is very lean, generally only about 2% fat, protein rich, and a good source of iron and other nutrients.
The leanness of ‘roo meat does have a drawback, though: it’s very important not to overcook kangaroo, or it becomes very tough. So if you like your steaks well-done, then ‘roo is probably not for you. Kangaroo should be cooked to medium-rare.
Luckily this recipe is quite easy, and a delicious introduction to eating ‘roo.
What do I need?
- 1 Cup of dry, red wine
- 2-3 Cloves of garlic
- 1 Small red onion
- 1 small red chilli
- 750g of kangaroo steaks or fillets
- Olive oil
- 1/2 Cup of cream
What do I do?
Combine the red wine, crushed garlic, finely chopped onion and chopped chilli. Pour the mixture on to the meat and marinade it for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
Take the meat out of the marinade. Make sure you drain the meat well; if there is too much liquid in the pan, the meat will stew. Put the marinade aside for later.
Heat a frying pan on high until it’s good and hot. Drizzle some oil in the pan, and fry the steaks for about 3-4 minutes a side.
The best way to tell how well done a steak is, is to poke it with a pair of tongs – never cut the steak! When you sear the outside, it locks in a lot of the juices. Cutting the steak will let the juices out and make the meat drier.
Prod the meat with the tongs to see how firm it is. A chef once explained it to me this way: Pinch the webbing between the forefinger and thumb of one of your hands. If you feel right up at the joint of your thumb and finger, that’s well-done meat should feel. A bit further down is medium, and so on. Use the picture below as reference.
When the steaks are cooked, put them on a plate, cover them with foil, and place them to rest in a warm (about 75°C/170°F) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
While the steaks are resting, pour the reserved marinade into the pan, add the cream, and bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes or so, until it’s reduced and thickened.
To get a really smooth sauce, you can strain it through a sieve into a bowl, and discard the remains of the onions, garlic and chilli.
Serve with mashed potato and/or sweet potato (the sauce goes brilliantly with mashed sweet potato) and some steamed vegetables.
What’s that, Skip? You taste delicious with red wine?