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Kangaroo pie February 17, 2013

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Game.

Apparently Australians are one of the few nations to eat the animals on their coat of arms. I admit I haven’t done any investigation to find out if this is true or not, but it certainly provides a colourful story. The animal in question is of course the kangaroo (although the emu – the other animal on the coat of arms – is also edible and served at some restaurants, although I have not personally seen it for sale) which is a great meat. It’s lean, nutritious and very tasty.

Normally when I cook kangaroo, I sear it on a high heat for a few minutes, so that it gets a nice crust on the surface and is still almost raw inside. Kangaroo has very little fat, so benefits from either very fast or very long cooking. Since I was used to cooking it very quickly, I decided a slow, long cook was in order – and just for fun, I decided to turn it into a pie.

I started by browning the kangaroo in the pressure cooker – I know I have mentioned many times how useful the pressure cooker is, and this time I used the sautee option to brown the meat, and then the onions.

I then added a mixture of spices – cumin, salt, pepper, mustard seeds – and when they were nicely toasted, added carrots and potatoes. Once they had softened slightly, I added the meat and onions back in, then added some tomato paste.

Next I added some previously made beef stock, a very healthy glug of red wine, sage and lots and lots of rosemary. Then it was just a matter of putting the lid on the pressure cooker and letting the machine do its work. In the meantime, I made some pastry and let it chill in the fridge while the kangaroo cooked.

After about 30 minutes, the kangaroo mixture was cooked and the meat was falling apart. I shaped the pie base pastry and blind-baked it for about 15 minutes until it was firm. Then I filled the pastry shell with the kangaroo filling and put the remaining pastry on top. I’ll admit: it wasn’t the prettiest pie ever. There wasn’t quite enough pastry for the top of the pie, so it was slightly misshapen. Nevertheless, I persisted and baked the pie for a further 15 minutes, until the top was starting to brown.

And the end result: not the prettiest but certainly delicious. I did enjoy the combination of the kangaroo and rosemary, and it was nice to have the kangaroo cooked this way for a change. The bonus for me was that there was some filling left over, so I had this the next day for lunch.

Although I can find no evidence of Nero Wolfe ever eating kangaroo, I do think he’d approve. He certainly delighted in eating dishes native to his adopted United States, and I hope he would be equally delighted with the culinary possibilities of kangaroo.


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