Kangaroo steamer


  • 500g kangaroo fillet, coarsely minced or finely chopped
  • 400g speck (or pancetta), finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250ml (1 cup) port wine (or fruity red wine)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or ground nutmeg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 juniper berries


This dish was first recorded in Australia in the 1820s but it is likely to have been in existence well before then. Closely resembling the traditional English 'jugged hare', it's a wonderful example of how colonists adapted their familiar British cookery to native ingredients. Some versions are almost casserole style, but this one, which uses minced kangaroo, is similar to a French terrine, sans pastry. It is delicious with crusty bread, pickled onions or cucumbers and bitter greens such as witlof or endive. Spooned straight from the jar, it makes an ideal addition to a picnic spread.

The recipe works best when made over 2 or even 3 days, allowing time for the flavours to develop, before and after cooking. It is important to use a good-quality jar with an airtight, rubber-sealed lid. Old-fashioned 'clip-top' or Mason-style preserving jars are ideal. You could be very traditional and use a deep ceramic pot, if you can find one, and seal it well with double-lined foil and string, the way you would a plum pudding.

Serves 8 with bread and condiments


Put all the ingredients except the bay leaf and juniper berries into a large, non-metallic bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients to form a slightly sticky but sloppy mixture. Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.

Pack the mixture into a clean 1-litre jar to just below the fill line, as the mixture will expand during cooking. Use a table knife to remove any obvious air pockets and place the bay leaf and juniper berries on the top. Seal the jar firmly.

Put a trivet in the bottom of a large saucepan or stockpot. This allows water to pass beneath the jar and minimises the risk of its cracking from exposure to direct heat. Place the jar on top of the trivet. Fill the pan with enough cold water to reach three-quarters the way up the sides of the jar. Bring the water to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 hours, topping up the water to keep the jar immersed to the three-quarters level.

For safety reasons, allow the water to cool a little before removing the jar from the pan – take care, remembering that the jar will be wet and slippery.

Refrigerate and serve cold, as you would rillettes or a terrine.

This recipe appeared in the post The hare and the ... kangaroo on August 07, 2014.

This recipe appeared in the post Advance Australian fare on January 26, 2013.

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