Recipe: Congress’s kangaroo pastrami

CONGRESS, MELBOURNE – SERVES 8

"This is an amazing pastrami technique that can be applied to any type of meat, although brine times may differ depending on the thickness of your cut. The cultured cream is a great balance to the spicy pastrami, and the crispy onions add texture. This dish is best served at room temperature, and can be sliced in advance for large functions." – Head chef Jack Stuart.

Kangaroo spice

40 g coriander seeds
40 g caraway seeds
50 g black pepper
10 g juniper

METHOD Toast spices in a pan until fragrant. Cool then blend finely in a spice blender. Reserve for later.

Kangaroo pastrami

1 kg kangaroo loin, completely trimmed (at Congress we use Paroo brand kangaroo)
2 l water
10 g nitrate salt cure #1
190 g rock salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 star anise
2 g coriander seeds
Peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Kangaroo spice mix

METHOD Combine all the ingredients except the kangaroo loin and the spice mix in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to cool, then put the mixture in a container in the fridge and chill completely. Add kangaroo loin to brine and leave for 48 hours. Remove and dry off excess brine. Vaccum pack and cook in a water bath set to 55ºC for 50 minutes. Once finished, heat a frying pan and add a touch of vegetable oil. Remove kangaroo from bag, dry on paper towel and sear on both sides very quickly. The aim is to add colour, not to cook the kangaroo – no longer than 10 seconds each side, making sure the fry pan is smoking hot. In a small tray, spread out the pastrami spice mix and completely roll the kangaroo, hot from the pan, in the spices until evenly covered. Roll tightly in clingfilm and freeze. Remove kangaroo from freezer and semi defrost. Slice thinly on a meat slicer set to 1.5. Refrigerate until needed, bearing in mind it should be served at room temperature.

Cultured cream

500 ml good quality cream
25 g natural yoghurt

METHOD Bring cream slowly to 40ºC in a saucepan, whisk in yoghurt, then pour into a suitable shallow plastic container. Place container in a dehydrator or oven set to 40ºC. At Congress we use our Excalibur dehydrator to culture the cream. Leave for 24 hours, then remove and skim any fat that has risen to the top. Place in fridge. When cold, lightly whip to soft peaks.

Crispy onions

2 brown onions, peeled and sliced whole thinly on a mandolin
2 l vegetable oil

METHOD Heat oil to 160ºC. Add onions and cook, stirring until brown and all water has evaporated. Drain very well on a paper towel and season with salt. Keep tossing and pulling apart the onions while they cool to prevent clumping.

TO SERVE Make sure kangaroo is room temperature. Place a few spoons of whipped cultured cream on the bottom of a plate and spread evenly. Lay kangaroo slices on top. Add crispy onions and serve.

Jack Stuart is the head chef at Melbourne wine bar and restaurant, Congress. 49 Peel St, Collingwood VIC.