Roo tail

Roo tail

By
From
A Year of Practiculture
Serves
4
Photographer
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

Kangaroo is as local as I can get it. If you want to use the term sustainable, I reckon this animal is my best sustainable option. They’re native, which is important, as it means they’ve evolved to live in harmony with the natural environment and the conditions of where they live.

Kangaroos have an ability to live within the carrying capacity of their ecosystem. They tend to reproduce based on the current supply of resources. This is a fantastic system for them, but it’s not so rad for the farmers trying to grow grain crops, which the kangaroos love to feast on. There are more kangaroos in Victoria now than there were before European settlement, because the landscape has been altered through land-clearing for agricultural purposes. More fields of green tended for sheep or cattle means more food for kangaroos, which ultimately means a healthy roo population. The roos have become an agricultural pest, and are therefore shot by the farmers in an effort to manage their numbers.

In reality, we could dispense with the sheep and the cattle and simply harvest the kangaroos. Their meat is lean, they don’t require fences (they simply jump over them), they don’t need vet visits, drenching or mustering to fresh pastures. They just need to be harvested, butchered and packaged. But it’s against the law to hunt them for my family, so when I find a roadkill I check it for freshness – which is probably also illegal, but hey, we can’t all be perfect citizens, can we? Kangaroo isn’t available everywhere, but wherever we live, there are some more sustainable forms of protein for us. It’s just a matter of identifying them and tapping into the supply.

Kangaroo tail is a great cut. It’s gelatinous and tender, and if treated the right way it makes for an amazing meal. I’ve had a tail cooked with Chinese flavours and it was mind-blowing, so I guess the general gist is to experiment and find what works best for you.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 kangaroo tail
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, sliced
2 onions, sliced
50g lard
500ml red wine
2 teaspoons whole cloves
4 dried hot bird’s eye chillies, crushed
roast pumpkin mash, to serve
thyme sprigs, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut the tail into a few pieces.
  3. Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy-based flameproof casserole dish over medium heat on the stove top. Add the carrot and onion and cook for at least 10 minutes. Add the lard. Once the lard has melted, add the meat and brown on all sides. Splash over the wine and 250 ml water, then add the cloves and dried chilli.
  4. Put the lid on the casserole dish and transfer to the oven. Cook for 30 minutes then turn the heat down to 130–150°C and cook for another 3 hours, or until the meat is as tender as a middle-aged bum cheek.
  5. Serve on a bed of roast pumpkin mash and garnish with thyme sprigs. Heavenly.
Tags:
rohan
anderson
practiculture
whole
larder
love
sustainable
sustainability
grow
harvest
forage
hunt
seasonal
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