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Sustainable Prosciutto

Wild Kangaroos

The Charcutepalooza challenge is not just about curing meat, but also about using sustainable, humanely treated meat.  So when I was thinking about how I could apply this to my cooking, the first thing I thought of was kangaroo. Living in the land Down Under this is one of the few native meats.  Lamb, beef, and pork or hoofed animals were all bought over with the first fleet, and although it is possible to farm these animals over here, they are not naturally designed to live on the dry land in Australia, meaning that farmers can graze fewer animals per acre compared to somewhere like the UK and according to many people the hooves of these animals are destroying the land.

Hanging Out

Kangaroos are the ultimate free range meat. They are not farmed, they don’t need to be, they occur naturally in great numbers across a vast area of Australia. In fact, kangaroos occur in such large numbers that eating them is actually doing the land a favour, so eating kangaroos has come from a need to control the population.

There are also claims that eating kangaroo can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that’s all before you even get to the fact that it’s good for you. Apparently it is high in protein and contains about 2% fat.

'Roo Prosciutto

We have been cooking with kangaroo since we arrived in Oz. It makes for a good lasagne, which we first cooked in 2006 for novelty value (see blog) but actually tastes pretty good so we’ve repeated a few times since, but that is about as far as our kangaroo repertoire goes, until now.

Alongside my duck prosciutto I salted and hung some ‘roo. It probably wasn’t quite the right cut of ‘roo, but experimenting and learning is what this year of meat is all about.

As I was recounting the story of charcutepalooza to a friend, and in particular, how I was experimenting even further with some ‘roo prosciutto, she came up with the fabulous idea of what to do with the end product – croc kebabs. Crocodile is another local-ish meat that is also sustainable and one that I have not been brave enough to try, until now.

Croc and 'Roo Kebabs

I marinated the croc in lemon, garlic olive oil and rosemary, then wrapped the cubes of meat in the ‘roo prosciutto. This was then alternated on the kebab stick with cubes of bread (a tried and tested Jamie Oliver recipe, usually made with monkfish). The bread was also coated in the marinade. Following a quick stint on the BBQ it was served as an entrée with a quick lettuce salad.

It was certainly a good introduction to homemade prosciutto. I found the kangaroo too salty to eat on it’s own, but wrapped around the crocodile, it complimented the meat really well.

Comments

Comment from Janis
Time February 26, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Fascinating! I would love to taste that. GreT post.

Comment from Inspirebywolfe
Time February 27, 2011 at 6:56 am

Looks great! Did you think it made a difference using such a lean meat compared to the duck? I would worry it would dry out too much without the fat layer.

Comment from nic
Time February 28, 2011 at 6:04 am

Thanks! The kangaroo was definitely drier than the duck, but the ‘roo wasn’t so dry that I wouldn’t do it again.

Comment from Suz
Time March 16, 2011 at 1:41 am

What an awesome night to have to be in Sydney for work!! Normally I don’t look forward to work visits, but as I arrived to stay with Nic, she informed me it was Roo and Croc kebab night…. The kebabs looked so tasty I was glad I was staying and I certainly wasn’t disappointed!!
The saltiness of the kangaroo and the gentler white meat of the croc went together perfectly and it was so delicious! Needless to say the entire plate was polished off pretty quickly! Yum! The only down side was that there weren’t seconds!!
Thanks Nic!

Comment from nic
Time March 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

It was a pleasure Suz. I love cooking for people who are game to try new things! I have since discovered that kangaroo lends itself to bresaola and is even better than the prosciutto. Next time…

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