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Put roo on your plate

Monday, 23rd September, 2019

Pandora’s Palate owner Lee Cecchin. PICTURE: Myles Burt Pandora’s Palate owner Lee Cecchin. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

More awareness around recipes and the health benefits of kangaroo meat could help put the dish on menus across Australia.

As certain restaurants embrace kangaroo, Pandora’s Palate owner Lee Cecchin said the meat still had a way to go before it become a national staple.

Ms Cecchin said there’s a huge market for kangaroo, especially with abundant populations that could be utilised a lot more.

“Chefs are starting to see the benefits of putting it on the menu,” Ms Cecchin said.

“City places have a lot, whereas country areas have it on their menu but it’s not the star of the show.”

Ms Cecchin said when Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark came to Broken Hill in November 2011, Ms Cecchin prepared dukkah-crusted kangaroo fillets fit for the royal visit.

When asked if Princess Mary enjoyed the kangaroo dish, Ms Cecchin said she didn’t ask Princess Mary personally, but she did eat it.

“She’s a good Aussie girl, so she would’ve quite enjoyed it,” Ms Cecchin said.

“So did the other guests there because when it came back the plates were scrapped clean.”

Ms Cecchin said even though kangaroo is a personal favourite to cook with, others might not be familiar with how to cook it.

She believed locals were turned off of kangaroo because they cooked it the same as beef steak.

Ms Cecchin said the longer you cook the meat, the tougher it becomes, and she recommended to cook using meat from the saddle, or the fillet.

“Medium rare is the optimum cooking for a roo, and then letting it rest because it’s very strong,” Ms Cecchin said.

“Remember it’s got no fat in it, so there’s nothing there to keep that moisture content in when it’s cooking.”

Being a strong meat and similar to dark meats like venison, Ms Cecchin suggests pairing the meat with something sweet to help take away the strong flavour.

Ms Cecchin sometimes adds either beef or pork belly fat to kangaroo to help stretch out the flavour.

The health benefits of kangaroo meat are incredibly significant, being low in fat and high in iron and protein.

Ms Cecchin said a focus on marketing could help swing opinions, even by just referring to kangaroo instead by the individual cuts of meat similar to beef.

“They (beef) have all their different cuts and they have their unique names about them so maybe that might be something we need to look at,” Ms Cecchin said.

Now has never been a better time to try kangaroo as the drought continues across NSW.

Ms Cecchin said eating kangaroo would help graziers.

“They’re a hazard to the farmers because they’re eating everything that the sheep and the cattle are actually looking for as well.”

When asked if kangaroo could ever be the national dish of Australia, Ms Cecchin said it’s a meat everyone could put their own spin on, especially as Australia is a multicultural society that uses an array of flavours in everyday cooking. Ms Cecchin said it’d be great to get everybody on board to create a kangaroo dish unique to Australia.

“Why not get all the other cultures on board and we all come up with something truly unique because we are multicultural,” Ms Cecchin said.

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