Non-marsupial nations, do not despair. David Bruguera-McLaren, chef de cuisine at The Melbourne Soup Kitchen in Australia, says we can substitute oxtails--and as far as I'm concerned, he's right. Oxtails are wonderful in this rich, deeply flavored and deeply satisfying cold-weather soup. Serve hot as a meal to 8-10 people, with crusty bread, salad, and red wine, while the cold wind beats against the door.
6 pounds of kangaroo tail (or oxtails), browned
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks with leaves, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2½ cups dry red wine
½ cup port
½ bunch fresh thyme (or 2 Tablespoons dried, wrapped in silver foil and pierced with a fork))
2 parsley storks (roots)--or 1 medium parsnip
1½ cups tomato paste
5½ quarts beef stock
4 cups tomato puree
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons pepper
Garnish: potato dumplings (Rice 3 potatoes, then stir in 1 egg, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup flour--beat with a fork til fluffly. Roll into 1-inch balls. Drop in gently boiling salted water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain and hold until ready to serve.)
Brown the meat in a 450-degree oven, turning over once.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, saute the onion, carrrot, celery, and garlic in the oil. Deglaze the pot with the port, add red wine and bring to a boil. Add the tomato paste and the parsley roots (or parsnip) tied together with the thyme. Reduce to a simmer and cook down to half.
Add the browned kangaroo tail (or oxtails) and coat thoroughly. Add the stock, tomato puree, salt, and pepper--bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 90 minutes. Strain completely, reserving the meat to add to the soup later, and refrigerate until you can scoop all the fat off the top easily and discard.
When getting ready to serve, prepare and cook the dumplings. Then discard the congealed fat on top of the soup, bring the soup to a boil, and add the meat to it (discarding the bones).
Ladle into bowls and spoon the dumplings into each. Serve out back with crusty bread, a big salad, and lots of red wine.
by David Bruguera-McLaren