One of the best things about Australian cuisine (besides its base in fresh produce) is its multiculturalism. We are recipe bower birds, picking up anything that is bright and shiny from other places and taking it home!
One of the worst things about Australian cuisine is the ignorant way we have dismissed the heritage of knowledge about local food by indigenous Australians, that a wise culture would have treasured.
Which brings me to kangaroo as a case in point. Kangaroo meat is good! It is lean, healthy, high in iron and zinc. It is cheap, partly because of supply and demand, but also because kangaroos are adapted to our climate, soils, native grasses, and seasons. It is ethical – kangaroos live a good free range life in the wild and are harvested by professional shooters who don’t make a living unless they are very competent. It is environmentally responsible – kangaroos have soft feet that don’t destroy our very fragile soils and a breeding cycle adapted to the drought and flood climate of much of Australia. And perhaps most important of all, kangaroos don’t fart greenhouse gases.
And it is delicious! Gradually I am experimenting with all my old recipes, finding those that work best with kangaroo. This one is a kangaroo and bean stew, based on Turkish spice profile. As we near the end of winter, I am making the most of having the slow combustion stove going to cook slow cookers like beans.
Brown 500 grams of diced kangaroo meat in olive oil in a pot or pressure cooker. You are aiming to sear, not stew it, so you will need to have the pot quite hot and do it in two or three batches.
Remove the meat from the pot, add some more olive oil (kangaroo is very lean and won’t render fat the way beef or lamb will), and add:
- One large onion diced
- Four or five cloves of garlic, diced
- A good tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
- Two teaspoons of garam masala
- One teaspoon each of ground coriander, ground cummin, and ground cardamom
Saute till the onion is soft and the spices are cooked a little.
Add about 500 grams of peeled tomatoes and a little water.
Simmer for about 30 minutes or pressure cook for 10 until the meat is tender.
Add 300 grams of cooked beans. I used the dried seeds from my Blue Lake beans saved from summer for this recipe, but canellini or haricot beans work well.
Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of plain yoghurt.
Taste and add salt and pepper.
It’s good served with couscous and a green salad with lots of fresh mint in it.