Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hello Possums

Vegetarians and Vegans be warned - you probably might just want to skip this post. Lovers of fluffy little animals might also consider looking elsewhere.

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.

possum© by Haalo


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

possum meat© by Haalo


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!

Madras spiced Possum Curry© by Haalo


Madras spiced Possum 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.

Madras spiced Possum Curry© by Haalo


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!

10 comments:

  1. I enjoy finding new ingredients to try too, and I don't see a problem with something such as possum meat unless it was harvested in an ethically corrupt manner. Thanks for the post!

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  2. That sounds great! Where did you find possum meat, I'd be keen to try it.

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  3. Huh. Wonder if it's anything like the opossums in the U.S.? I know people eat those, too... but they look like giant rats, kinda.

    Anyway! If they're pests it's just as well to eat them so they don't overrun the world. I shall enjoy my cheese toastie and cheer you on. Bon Appétit!

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  4. possums are pests- could be great to use them for a delicious purpose but I think i would have to try it in a restaurant first because I get squeamish cooking things for the first time!

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  5. Hmmm... I almost skipped this post but my curiosity got the better of me, so I continued on. ;-) I'll take your word that it tasted good (the photos are nice, as usual), but when I show up at your doorstep, please serve me something different. I beg. ;-)))))

    Paz (who's still glad you cook almost anything at least once)

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  6. When I read the headline my mind was going overdrive thinking 'now what taste would that be & how would you serve it'. Yes, Curry of course. Interesting, thanks for taking the old possum out for a taste test drive. .

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  7. Possums are cute but are such pests (They once ate up my whole vegetable garden). So I secretly harbour thoughts that they should be bbqed! Especially the one possum that ate my kaffir lime plant and coriander. *evil snigger*

    I love how you made such a flavoursome dish from the lean possum meat 8)

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  8. i consider very few animals to be ugly, but the possum is one. i didn't know anyone ever ate them--wow! and ick! :)

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  9. Thanks Leaf - as long as it ticks the boxes and tastes good, there shouldn't be a problem

    Thanks Jess - unfortunately there's none available at the moment, might have been a trial to see if there was a market

    Thanks Tanita - they do look a bit alike and are both marsupials but come from different families

    GG - up until 2004 you could occasionally see possum on restaurant menus, hopefully with the new licensing they will return to restaurants

    Thanks Paz - you have nothing to worry about, I would never serve something like this unless I knew you really wanted to try it. Something mango would be on the menu for you!

    Thanks Anna - if I find anymore I may have to make Possum au Vin

    Thanks Soy - must admit the first mouthful had the sweet taste of revenge for the loss of my garden to these pests

    Grace - they are pretty in their own way, pretty tasty too ;)

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  10. Hi Guys, after doing a quick google for work research I found this post and thought I would give you some info on some questions. I know the post is old but you may be able to use the info anyway. Possum is available for sale through a company called Lenah Game in Tasmania. We should know as we have been using it on our menu for around 7 years as we are a native australian Restaurant. It has a strong flavour similar to rabbit and has very little fat content. Possum meat is best cooked slowly like in this recipe or even done confit (cooked in duck fat slowly for hours). Hope this helps out. Bryant, Tukka Restaurant, Brisbane.

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