Having a blog called "Cook (almost) Anything at least once" I find myself beholden to stay true to that name - a brief scan of the archives will easily show that I really do enjoy finding new ingredients to play around with and this is no different.
You see I really couldn't help it - when I spotted this is the store, it naturally ended up in my basket.
This is not meat from the local possums you'll find here in Melbourne. This comes from Tasmania and is made from Tasmanian brush-tails which are a pest.
So what does possum meat look like? It looks like this
It's lighter in colour than beef, more akin to say rose veal. The structure, well, if you ever cooked rabbit, it is very similiar to that. The meat is quite lean, there's virtually no marbling. There's a little surface fat still attached but that is easily removed.
When it came to deciding how to use this meat, surprisingly google wasn't much help. There are tantalising hints of a confit possum dish from (I think) a Queensland restaurant. While my 1933 edition of "New Standard Cookery" offers recipes for things such as Bandicoot, Terrapin and Black Swan, it doesn't offer any guidance for possum.
So I did what anyone does in these types of situation - I made a curry!
300 grams possum meat, trimmed & cut into bite sized pieces
1 red onion, sliced finely
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into large dice
Madras curry paste (use your favourite)
400 gram tin Cherry Tomatoes
Heat a spoonful of ghee in a pot over a medium-low heat - when the ghee has melted and is starting to sizzle, add in the onion and carrot. Sauté gently until softened and just beginning to colour. Remove the onion and carrot with a slotted spoon, leaving their juices behind.
Increase the heat and drop in the possum meat, a little at a time, to quickly brown all sides. Remove as soon as it's browned and continue until all the meat has been used. Return the vegetables and all the meat to the pan.
Add the Madras curry paste (I used about 4 tablespoons for this - there's a recipe coming soon for the paste), stir it through themixture and cook it out for about for a couple of minutes.
Add in the tinned cherry tomatoes - I think their sweetness works well in this dish, and enough water to barely cover the mixture.
Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to a low simmer, and cook for about 1 to 1½ hours - or until the liquid has reduced and thickened.
To get full flavour development - I leave the curry overnight to sit.
The next day, bring it back to a gentle simmer and cook for another half an hour.
I suppose the most important question is "How did it turn out?"
The meat was very tender and virtually fell apart with a touch of a fork - the taste, I can honestly say, it is very similar to beef, the only textural difference is that it is that much leaner.
Would I try it again? Yes!