So here we are. It’s officially the end of ‘winter’ here in North Queensland. You will note that I am once again, centre aligning the word ‘winter’ somewhat snugly between two inverted commas, because, well, Townsville.
Nonetheless, if we go by the book, then it’s true that winter is officially over. So let’s consider this recipe the last of my more hearty dishes of the year, as we move into some lighter recipes for the next several months. Mind you, this one could also be considered somewhat fresh, given its fruity and native ingredients (plus the perhaps redundant addition of buffalo mozzarella… but nobody ever needs to question that because it’s just delicious).
So, background. It was probably about 15 years ago that I discovered kangaroo as a protein that was easy on the wallet, super lean/healthy and also perfectly fine to cook at home on any given evening, readily available in stores. I vividly remember taking some home to my best friend (and housemate at the time), who was utterly horrified that I would even remotely consider cooking a specimen that is part of our national emblem as a mid-week staple. I assured her it was fine and went right ahead and cooked it anyway…. And it sucked.
Since then, I’ve had many an interaction with kangaroo as food, and not all have been good. In fact, many of the experiences have been note-worthily awful. I’ve taken it to barbeques and it’s come out tougher than a Doc Marten’s sole. I’ve eaten it at restaurants and subsequently become quite ill.
But the good news in this is that all these bad experiences have been unable to turn me off this rich and deserving protein. It was obvious to me that the secret is all in the way it’s cooked; and just like brisket, when done right, it turns into something pretty magical.
So I made it my mission to learn how to cook kangaroo properly, and I can now pretty safely say I have gotten there. And it’s just so easy! It’s one of those things that is kind of like riding a bike; learn it once, learn it well… and you’ll never need to learn it again. So here is the unsecret secret:
- Marinate! Always at least two hours, but preferably overnight.
- Do NOT slow cook roo. It’s tempting to do, but it’s just too lean. It won’t make the meat any softer, trust me.
- Searing hot pan, three to four minutes each side, and no more.
- Five minute rest.
Seriously guys, that’s it. It’s perhaps too simple, to the point where some may question how it even made it to this blog, but that’s where the dressing up comes into play.
Berries are well and truly creeping in to season here at the moment, and there are blueberries everywhere! I adore blueberries, their beautiful colour, mild yet sweet-but-not-to-sweet flavour and that juicy ‘pop’ when they burst in your mouth. So it’s been for some time that I have been trying to work out a great way to use them in a savoury dish, and this is the result. It’s a really basic blueberry, and balsamic reduction, which again is super simple but just brightens up this dish and twists it in a pretty nifty direction.
The vital step of marinating the loin in a mixture of paprika and olive oil adds a beautiful complimentary flavour while ensuring tenderness, and searing on a hotter-than-hot cast iron pan adds that lovely smoky char to the meat. When it comes together with the epic stretched, stringy and salty addition of buffala and the crunch of some lightly toasted sourdough on the side, what you have is a dish that is fresh and rich, and a little bit different.
If I were having you over for a dinner party tomorrow, this is what I would be serving. But I’m not, so there is no better time than now for you to try your hand at some seared kangaroo yourself, you won’t be disappointed!
Seared Kangaroo Loin with Blueberry Glaze and Buffalo Mozzarella
If I were having you over for a dinner party tomorrow, I would serve this Seared Kangaroo Loin with Blueberry Glaze and Buffalo Mozzarella - it's a dish that has it all!
- 4 kangaroo loin fillets (approx. 125g ea)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 4 small balls stretched curd Buffalo mozzarella (see note)
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil spray
- Sliced sourdough bread (to serve)
- For the blueberry glaze:
- 200g fresh blueberries
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon blueberry preserve
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Cracked pepper (to taste)
Place the kangaroo loin in a large ziplock bag. To make the marinade, combine oil, paprika, garlic and thyme and pour into the bag with the fillets. Turn the meat to coat well and seal the bag. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
When ready to cook, remove the fillets from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, keeping it sealed in the bag.
For the blueberry sauce, heat a small saucepan over high heat. Add the shallots, stock and blueberry preserve and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid reduces slightly, approximately 3 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the blueberries with a wooden spoon. As the blueberries burst, the sauce will start to thicken.
When satisfied with the consistency, remove from the heat and allow to stand for about 10 minutes to cool.
Meanwhile, remove the kangaroo from marinade and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large cast iron skillet or pan over high heat and spray with olive oil. Cook the loin fillets for 3-4 minutes before flipping and cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove fillets from the heat and transfer to a plate before covering with foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
When ready to serve, plate the steaks up and top generously with the blueberry glaze. Place a torn Buffalo mozzarella ball on the side with some sourdough slices and drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.