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Kangaroo meat is still considered somewhat of a curiosity in Australia, which is strange considering it was the first fresh red meat consumed by European settlers early in 1788. It is still quite hard to find and you may have to travel to several butchers to see it on sale.

When I first became interested in cookery, around 13 or so years ago, kangaroo meat was only legal for retail sale in South Australia, some 1300 kilometres away (a good bloody 2-day drive) from my home. In the early 1990s, kangaroo meat became legal for retail consumption in New South Wales. It was a marketing failure. People treated the new source of protein as a curio rather than a viable source of food.

There has been somewhat of a backlash by foreign countries (and from some local voices as well) regarding the consumption of kangaroo and on several points I find this more than a little confusing. Kangaroos are far from endangered in Australia and in some regions they are considered a rural pest, for the damage they can inflict on grazing areas. Herein lies the irony. Kangaroos are undeniably suited to Australia's arid and drought prone pastures, where European beasts with hoof add to an already severe erosion problem. Yet we still eat huge amounts of beef and lamb. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Kangaroo meat is extremely flavorsome, with a deep red meat flavour, stronger than beef, but it must be treated differently from other meat due to its low fat content. The most common prime cuts found for sale are the fillet and rump and both require quick, rare cooking. There is little fat in the meat to tolerate being cooked "well done", which will end up unpalatably dry.

In my experience, the old European method of coating lean game meats in bacon or other fatty strips of meat works quite well in basting kangaroo while it cooks. Try wrapping a fillet of kangaroo in prosciutto, quickly pan frying and roast in a hot oven for 3-4 minutes.

Rest the meat for 10 minutes then slice and serve, maybe with mashed bunya nuts.

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