Chocaroo

I’ll be going to this year’s Goulburn Reader Writer Festival on Saturday 24 March (10am-8pm). The theme is “Feed Your Mind” and there will be a bunch of food-oriented authors. “Murder in the Mail” has two clues that can be consumed (technically you could consume all of them, but I would NOT recommend that) so I’ll fit in nicely, in my own peculiar way.

One of the authors is John Newton, and when I realised he’d written a book on pre-European Australian food I grabbed it at once. The Oldest Foods on Earth: A History of Australian Native Foods With Recipes was enthralling and I finished it quickly. . . but of course I had to stop and copy out a recipe while I was there. That recipe was “Kangaroo Loin, Semi-Smoked in Lemon Myrtle” by Indigenous Chef and star of “Wild Kitchen”, Clayton Donovan. You can see the real recipe here. and can follow the movements of the Jaaning Tree Restaurant (it does pop-ups and stuff) here.

The mechanics of smoking the kangaroo reminded me of the epically delicious Chicken and Cashews with Coconut Satay Sauce and Coconut Rice by thermomix cooking genius Quirky Cooking, here.

One of the cool things themomixes can do is cook rice while also steaming meat and reducing the liquid of a sauce. But it’s possible to still cook this recipe without one, especially if you use a rice cooker that can fit a wire frame inside. I’ll leave the Macgyvering up to you.

I found ALL my ingredients in Woolworths except the cooking wine (our Woolies has a separate shop for booze). The kangaroo was very near the chicken (and it cost the same amount to buy the marinated ones, so why not?), and the Masterfoods herb and spice mixture was just below all the herb and spice bottles (I didn’t find any plain lemon myrtle but I did order some online via ebay once I’d tasted it).

I was extremely excited about trying this out, and the results were spectacular. TJ and Chris were both impressed; Louisette refused to eat anything other than the sauce (3 out of 4 happy at dinner time is well above average). It’s incredibly rich, and the meat is lean and tender with a taste similar to lamb but. . . well. . . richer. It may have actually knocked lamb of its podium for me, which is incredible. There’s no fat to trim and no bones to negotiate. You can certainly taste the French influence. It feels weird to have rice with kangaroo, but it worked. The wine turns the rice a gorgeous purple, and the coconut makes it taste delicious.

Ingredients:

4ish kangaroo steaks, marinated in garlic and herbs (ie one pack)

Rice (enough for four people)

100mL red cooking wine

1 can coconut milk

20g bag Masterfoods “Coconut, Lemon Myrtle, and Garlic” Herb and Spice Blend (pictured, after I tore off the top).

1 tsp sugar (optional)

20g crushed macadamias (I crushed them on speed 6 for 1 second in the thermomix; putting them in a clean back and hitting them would also work)

2 tablespoons dark chocolate, broken (choc chips are handy)

1 tablespoon cranberry jelly/sauce

1 tsp stock (I used thermomix vegie stock; I recommend beef stock if you don’t have a thermomix)

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  1. Pour the coconut milk and red wine into the thermomix/rice cooker. Place the rice in the thermomix basket and rinse thoroughly with water (or it doesn’t cook right).
  2. Place the kangaroo steaks on the top layer of the wire rack/thermomix steamer (the lower layer stays empty, or can be used for vegetables).
  3. Mix the herb and spice mix with the sugar and 1/2 of the macadamias. Sprinkle half the resulting herb mixture over the rice, and another tablespoonful (or two) over the kangaroo steaks. Keep the rest for now (taste it; it’s salty but delicious).
  4. Put the thermomix basket (with the rice) into the thermomix, with the steamer (containing the kangaroo) on top. Then cook rice as normal (Varoma temperature, Speed 4, twenty minutes).
  5. When the rice is finished, put it in the thermo server (or other closed container) and mix in half the remaining macadamias. Put the steamer (with the kangaroo) on top of the rice (instead of the thermoserver lid) or cover it with an al foil tent.
  6. To make the chocolate sauce, add the chocolate (first, so it has time to melt), jam, and stock to the coconut milk and wine mixture remaining in the thermomix jug. Mix it on speed 1 for up to five minutes (until everything else is ready).
  7. Thinly slice the kangaroo and arrange it on plates with the rice. Add little piles of the herb mixture and macadamias to the side of the plate for diners to use for dipping (I literally couldn’t decide which flavour combination was the greatest). Pour chocolate sauce over and beside the kangaroo.

Serves 4

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Useful stuff:

As with all meat, the kangaroo will be best if you leave it at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before cooking (but I didn’t do that and it was glorious).

Take your time making the sauce. It’s good for the kangaroo to ‘rest’ for up to ten minutes before getting sliced.

The sauce is amazing, and would also go beautifully with a pavlova (keeping in mind that this version will have some juice dripped down from the kangaroo, so you’ll need to use it fairly soon or make a fresh batch solo).

I’ve heard kangaroo is difficult to cook, and there seems to be a consensus that it’s important to leave it rare. But this was a winner on my first go. I’ll be cooking it VERY frequently from now on.

Kangaroo is a brilliantly lean, tasty, sustainable meat. One of the reasons it’s sustainable is that sheep and cows harden the ground they walk on, but kangaroos don’t.

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