Marinated kangaroo and mushrooms October 6, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Game, Vegetables.
Nero Wolfe, as far as I know, never had the opportunity to eat kangaroo meat. However, he did espouse American cooking and American recipes, and argued that America had a place on the culinary stage along with more traditional countries such as Italy and France (Too Many Cooks). In his lecture, one of the recipes he highlights as being an example of American cooking is Tennessee Opossum. My reaction to that is, “how can anyone eat an opossum?!” (although I’d definitely be happy to try one!). It occurs to me that non-Australians (and some Australians too) may have a similar reaction to the idea of eating kangaroo. I believe that Australia is one of the few countries to eat an animal depicted on its coat of arms – but please let me know if I am wrong.
If you have never tried kangaroo (or Skippy, as it is inevitably called in my house), I would advise eating some if you possibly can. It is a very nice meat, with a light gamey flavour, and with very little fat. Indeed I would recommend it as a good introduction to game meat, as it is not as heavy as other game such as venison, but still provides a bit of game flavour. I have no idea how available it is in other countries, but here in Australia we are generally able to buy it in the supermarket (next to the venison, usually) – and certainly at the butchers. To prepare kangaroo, it is best to cook it as you would venison or other game – and like venison, it gets tough and dry if it is overcooked.
For this dish, I decided to cook the kangaroo with red wine and balsamic marinated mushrooms. I began by preparing the kangaroo, which I marinated for a few hours. The marinade consisted of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf.
When I was ready to cook, I began on the mushrooms. I just used plain white mushrooms, as that’s what I had available, but it would be interesting to try this recipe with other types of firm mushrooms too.
I chopped up on onion quite thin, and cooked it until it was translucent. Then I added garlic and the mushrooms, and added about 1/2 cup of red wine (I used shiraz, but any fuller red wine would work), mixing everything together.
I cooked this for a couple minutes and then added about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, and some salt and pepper. I lowered the heat and let the mushrooms simmer while I cooked the kangaroo.
To cook the kangaroo, I used the now-almost-patented system for cooking venison. I added some butter to a pan, waited until it was bubbling and added the kangaroo. I browned it on all sides and then put it in the oven for about 8 minutes to finish cooking.
By the time the kangaroo had finished cooking and resting, the mushrooms were also ready. I served the dish with more of the wine I had cooked the mushrooms in.
I am a big fan of kangaroo and this one was no exception. It had been nicely flavoured from the marinade, but the gamey kangaroo flavour still came through. After my discussions about not overcooking the meat, the only disappointment I had was that the meat was overcooked slightly – not so much that it became tough – but I wish I’d taken it out a couple minutes sooner.
The mushrooms were a great accompaniment to the kangaroo, being both rich and tangy at the same time. While I served these while they were still a little warm, they would also be good when cooled. These are definitely something I will be making again.
And as for Nero Wolfe – this may not be opossum but it is a good example of using an ingredient native to an area, rather than sticking to more mainstream or traditional recipes. It helps that it is quite delicious too!