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Summer Kangaroo Kebabs in Green Paw Paw Marinade

We celebrated New Year’s Eve at a barbeque with neighbours. It’s one of the things I love about living in a functioning community – socialising within walking distance.  I could go on about greenhouse footprints but really it’s enough that I can drink half a bottle of red wine and wander home in the starlight wishing happy New Year to the owlet nightjar that lives on the way!

I took kangaroo kebabs to the barbeque.  Normally I buy kangaroo fillet steak to make kebabs – it’s so cheap compared to beef fillet, and you really don’t use a lot of it in kebabs. But there was no fillet steak this time, so I bought diced kangaroo which is much tougher and usually best suited to long slow cooking.

It is the very end of the pawpaw (Carica papaya) season here.  We’ve been harvesting several every week for four months now, all from one really prolific tree.  But the bounty is almost over and the wet weather is causing them to develop a fungus disease called anthracnose if we let them completely ripen on the tree.

Which means they’re perfect for green paw paw salads and tenderising diced kangaroo. Pawpaw has an enzyme called papain which is the main ingredient in commercial meat tenderisers.  Green pawpaw has more of it but ripe pawpaw has enough to work as a marinade.

The Recipe:

An hour or two beforehand:

Soak 20 kebab skewers.

In the food processor, blend together

  • a small pawpaw (200 grams or so), thinly peeled and de-seeded
  • several cloves of garlic
  • knob fresh turmeric
  • an onion
  • a chili
  • two dessertspoons of lemon juice or some other acid – I still have Eureka lemons fruiting, but you could use verjuice if you have unripe grapes, or wine.
  • some sweetener.  I prefer treacle, but you can substitute honey or brown sugar.  Somewhere between one and two dessertspoons – more for a green pawpaw and less for a ripe one.
  • a dessertspoon of  soy sauce

Massage the marinade through 1 kilogram of diced kangaroo meat, cover, and leave it in the fridge.

Dice a small eggplant into cubes a bit bigger than the kangaroo.  Sprinkle with salt and put it in a colander.

An hour or two later:

Rinse the eggplant and squeeze out the moisture.  It will have shrunk to roughly the same size as the kangaroo cubes.  Thread the marinated meat onto skewers, alternating with eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and mushrooms.  Pour the remaining marinade over the skewers.

Cook on a hot barbeque for a few minutes each side.


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