Some friends for dinner who had never eaten kangaroo before and were a bit dubious. In this pie, you really can’t tell the meat is kangaroo – it could just as easily be chuck steak. Not that I usually try to disguise it – kangaroo is our red meat of choice these days, for all sorts of reasons – ethical, ecological, cost, health benefits – but taste is also up there. Maybe I’m just used to it now, or maybe methods of harvesting and processing have changed, but I find the kangaroo meat I get in the supermarket these days isn’t gamey at all, and for most people it’s just the idea of eating kangaroo that gets in the way. For me, the idea works the other way. I like the idea of organic, free range, non-greenhouse-gas-producing, adapted-to-the-environment meat. My problem is with the idea eating meat from factory farmed animals.
You could easily undo the health benefits of a very lean, low cholesterol meat, by putting it in a pie with a standard shortcrust though. I’ve been playing and experimenting lately with making pastry without butter. This pastry is a bit fragile and tricky to roll out, but it is lovely and short and no saturated fat. Meaning the whole recipe is super heart friendly.
Mix 2½ cups of wholemeal plain flour and a teaspoon of salt in a bowl.
Fill a cup half full of low fat milk and top it up to full with olive oil – half a cup of each. You don’t need to mix them.
Tip the cup all at once into the bowl. Stir and then knead just enough to combine into a dough. Don’t overwork the dough or it will get tough.
Cover the bowl and put the dough in the fridge to cool while you make the filling.
Put a handful of plain wholemeal flour in a plastic bag.
Dice 400 grams of kangaroo steak and put in the bag. Shake to coat the meat in flour.
Heat a good dash of olive oil in a heavy pan till the pan is very hot, then brown the floured meat. You will probably need to do it in two batches so it sears rather than stews.
While the meat is browning, dice two onions and several cloves of garlic. Take the meat out, add another dash of olive oil, and sauté the onions and garlic.
At this stage I like to add a little bit of something with some heat – either a diced chili, or a teaspoon of seeded mustard, or a couple of teaspoons of green peppercorns. They all create something different but they’re all good. But if you don’t like spicy food you can leave it out.
While the onions are cooking, slice 250 grams of mushrooms. Add them to the onions.
Return the meat to the pan and add a jar of tomato passata and half a cup of water.
Simmer to reduce and thicken.
Filling and Baking
While the filling is simmering, roll out the pastry.
This pastry is quite fragile. The easiest way to do this is to divide the dough into two balls, one slightly bigger than the other. Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on your bench top, put the bigger ball on it, and cover with another sheet. Roll the pastry out between the two sheets, turning once or twice to un-wrinkle the paper. You can then peel the top sheet of paper off, flip it into the pie dish, then peel the other sheet off.
Line a pie dish with pastry, fill, cover with the other sheet of pastry. Pinch the edge decoratively and poke the top with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake in a medium hot oven for around 30 minutes till brown.
Really good served with potato or parsnip mash and steamed greens.