Friday, November 14, 2008

Roo and Root

"Kangaroo is one of the healthiest meats around. The farming of our native meat has little to no impact on the environment, it's cheap to buy compared to beef and lamb and when you know what to do with it, the taste is delicious."  Judy Davie, The Food Coach

I am convinced that we would all benefit from eating more kangaroo.  It is a lean meat, it is not expensive (I paid $14 for 2 kg last week) and it tastes delicious.  So I recently converted our family favourite, Beef and Beetroot Casserole, from Beef and Beet into Roo and Root.

It is absolutely delicious, I can vouch for that.

Roo and Root Casserole or Beef and Beetroot Casserole

1kg kangaroo meat or 1kg skirt steak (braising steak)

4 tabs olive oil

2-3 onions

3 bacon rashers

2 garlic cloves

2 tabs tomato paste

1 bunch beetroot

2 cups beef stock

1 cup red wine

2 rosemary sprigs

3 fresh bay leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook meat in batches.  Be very careful not to overcook kangaroo so ensure your heat is high and you get beautiful bits of brown on the edges, but still pink inside at this stage.

Heat oil, add onions, bacon and garlic. Cook for 6-8 mins.  Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Trim ends and stalks from beetroot, wash thoroughly.  Cut into thin wedges.   Add to onion mixture with stock, wine, rosemary and bay.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Return meat to the dish.  Cook slowly, tightly sealed, in the oven, in your pressure cooker or your lovely waterless cooking Nutrimax Pots, as I use, for 2-3 hours.

The kangaroo industry should be burgeoning as the meat provides a nutritionally valuable meal.  Hopefully negative perceptions will decline with less reruns of 'Skippy' on TV and greater hygiene measures along with higher nutritional awareness.  I know my family is very happy to have it on  their plates.  I expected it to taste much more 'gamey' than it does.  I have eaten it restaurants where you do perhaps expect your food to have a different, more gamey flavour. I had not until recently tried to cook it at home for my family.  Now I have succeeded in this and will do so again.

Here are some more facts about kangaroo for our health which have all been gleaned from The Food Coach.

Kangaroo meat is lean, low in saturated fat and provides Omega 3 fats and all the essential amino acids necessary for wound repair and cellular growth. It's also a great source of iron and zinc. 

For instance, a 150 gram piece of cooked kangaroo equates to 6.3g iron and 5.4g zinc. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron is 12g and zinc is 8g.

Kangaroo meat is one of the best sources of protein available, with the average cut yielding over 98% of total energy from protein and less than 2% of energy from fat. Compared to a lamb steak that's 33% more pure protein and the same amount less saturated fat. It also contains 25% more iron than lamb and similar amounts of zinc.

Kangaroo is the closest meat to the meat our hunter- gatherer ancestors ate. The animals are reared in their natural habitat with extensive areas to exercise on, hence the kangaroo's low saturated fat content. It also means they are free of antibiotics and hormones. They eat their native diet and exercise far more than their domesticated relatives. As a result, game meat is generally incredibly lean, almost without exception low in saturated fat, a good source of omega-3 fats, high in protein and with none of the concerns surrounding the intensive rearing of farm animals. 

I hope I have inspired you to include some kangaroo in your menu plan for next week.  You will find more delicious recipes here.

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