Welcome to Part II of the ToastPoint exotic meat series. Today, kangaroo in fig sauce. When we ordered from exoticmeats.com, there was some sort of procurement delay. To make up for the dreadful incovenience of tardy deliver of bits of dead exotic animals, the fine people at Exotic Meats sent some extra kangaroo with our order.
We decided to pay the windfall forward by having a kangaroo dinner party, fairly bold considering that we figured there was a decent chance the meal would be inedible, either through native nastiness or ineptitude of preparation. To up the ante, we even invited a gen-u-ine Australian to the table.
We stocked up on cheese, made extra large portions of side dishes, plied our guests with (Australian) wine, and crossed our fingers. And lo and behold, the kangaroo was awesome. The tender, extremely flavorful, appealingly rosy meat was wolfed down (apologies for mixing species) by one and all. I can only assume that the reason humanity domesticated cows and not kangaroos is that cows are easier to catch in the first place. The sweetness of the caramelized fig complimented the meat perfectly.
Discussion at the table revolved around whether a kangaroo was, in fact, a giant rodent and its status as a pest Down Under--all of which were basically efforts to keep ourselves from feeling bad about eating such a charismatic megafauna.
It will seem like there is a lot of oil in the marinade, but kangaroo is very lean so many recipes recommend variations on a oil bath before cooking. And since the meat is so lean, it will dry out if you try for anything more the medium-rare--thus the quick sear and little else.
This fig sauce would be brilliant with pork or beef as well. So if you can't lay your paws on some kangaroo, you can still give it a whirl.
Kangaroo with Fig Sauce
2-3 Tablespoons fig preserves
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
4 generous Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon French mustard
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tablespoons fig vinegar, or balsamic vinegar with a bit for extra fig preserves
Pour marinade into a freezer bag and add:
1- 1 1/2 pounds of kangaroo loin filets
Marinate for as long as possible. I marinated mine overnight in the fridge.
About 1 hour before dinner, removed the bag from the fridge and bring kangaroo to room temperature.
Heat on high in a non-non-stick pan (cast iron or aluminum is best. If all you have is non-stick, it just means a little less tasty brown crust on the meat):
1 scant Tablespoon oil
When oil begins to shimmer and smoke, removed kangaroo from marinade, shake off excess and add to the pan. After 3 minutes, turn the filets. After three more minutes, removed the filets to a warm oven (250 degrees) and keep them there until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, reduce heat and pour the marinade into the pan. Deglaze with a little wine or water if things are too dry. Reduce the juices to a thick, syrupy sauce and serve on in a little pitcher or bowl on the side of the kangaroo.