The backstory

Meatballs are iconic in Australian food culture, and come in many different variations, such as Italian, Middle Eastern, Swedish or African, or even Chinese. Almost every cuisine will have a version of a meatball plopped into sauce or soup, and make it to many dinner tables across the country in one form or another as quintessential crowd-pleasing comfort food. Creating a truly Australian flavour was not a stretch, and it was about taking what was going to be a natural choice for a meatball: something salty, something spicy, something peppery. This recipe is sensational with kangaroo meat and the depth of flavour from kangaroo marries very well with the strong aromatics coming from the herbs we have selected in this recipe. However,  the recipe can be just as tasty with beef or port and veal mince, even chicken mince if you are not ready or keen on kangaroo meat. Its important to mention that as we become more mindful about our meat consumption, kangaroo meat is probably the most sustainably farmed meat in Australia, and far outstrips beef in its nutritional profile being much higher in iron, B vitamins and zinc, while only containing 2% fat. This recipe is a good reason to give kangaroo a go at your dinner table if you haven't already tried it. 

About the ingredients 

Saltbush: this bush grows happily in most parts of Australia, and not only has useful medicinal uses but has also been shown to help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its high in protein, contains calcium and trace minerals. Interestingly, even though it is called saltbush, it contains less sodium than table salt, so adding it to you cooking is a great way to instantly increase flavour without adding too much salt. its also very versatile and can be added to almost anything that needs salty-umami boost. If you have a saltbush growing in the backyard, its leaves can actually be used fresh to add to salads or stir fry. Indigenous traditional cooking would see saltbush seeds added to damper, and medicinally, would be made into a paste to treat wounds and burns.

Bush tomato: this has been an important food in the Central Australian region for thousands of years, and is where the main growing region is situated. It is usually harvested wild and can be harvested either dried on the bush or fresh. Bush tomato is known to be a good source of selenium, potassium and iron. this is so incredibly versatile as its like ground up sundried tomato, but with more savory and earthy tones.   It can be added to various savory dishes such as dips, sprinkled into a salad or over vegetables or sprinkled over meats while BBQing. 

Pepper leaf: Comes from the Tasmannia lanceolata plant which grows well in southern parts of Australia where the climate is cooler, and the berries and leaves can be used. It has quite a complex flavour structure, with a number of different layers and dimensions that go well with either sweet or savory. It can be used with curries, cheese, meats, ice-cream or even Christmas cake. Nutritionally, the pepper leaf is a wonderful anti-oxidant, is high in Vitamin E and folate, and has antibacterial / antifungal properties. This bush is easy to grow at home and would be a useful addition to your collection of herbs and spices growing in your backyard.  

Pepper berry: Comes from the Tasmannia lanceolata plant which grows well in southern parts of Australia where the climate is cooler, and the berries and leaves can be used. It has quite a complex flavour structure, with a number of different layers and dimensions that go well with either sweet or savory. It can be used with curries, cheese, meats, ice-cream or even Christmas cake. Nutritionally, the pepper berry is a wonderful anti-oxidant, is high in Vitamin E and folate, and has antibacterial / antifungal properties. This bush is easy to grow at home and would be a useful addition to your collection of herbs and spices growing in your backyard.  

Reference (https://anfab.org.au/)

Ingredients

  • 500g Kangaroo or beef mince
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ground saltbush leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ground sage leaves
  • 1 tablespoon bush tomato
  • 1 teaspoon dried pepper leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon myrtle
  • 1 teaspoon ground anise myrtle
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper berry or ground black pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chopped onion if you wish
  • olive oil for frying

 

Steps and Method

Heat oven at 180 Degrees Celcius

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl until all ingredients are integrated into a smooth mixture that sticks together.

Take a tablespoon of mixture and roll the mixture into a ball and place on a chopping board or parchment

Heat a large frypan and drizzle some olive oil into the bottom, waiting for it to heat up. Gently roll some of the balls into the fry pan and brown gently. Once they have browned, place them on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10 mins to ensure they are cooked through.

Serve either warm or cold, and can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.