Australian coat of arms: 0 – Mike: 2
Well, I think this week may just be my worst meat yet. Not just in this blog, but ever!
Now I’m not comparing this to something like sheep’s testes which tastes a bit funky and carries a massive mind f*ck with it only adding to the ‘grossness’ of the experience. What I mean is I royally fvcked up this meat. A few weeks ago I left the guinea fowl in the oven a bit too long which meant it dried out dry it out which rather soured the dish. This on the other hand was tougher than Chuck Norris.
What was it? Well if you’re Australian I would hope you can figure it out from the sizable clue at the top. If not, have a look at the ‘Strayan’ coat of arms above. I’ve already done Kangaroo this year, so this was the final nail in the coffin to conquer what didn’t really put up a fight. This week I ate Emu.
I say didn’t put up a fight, but then perhaps that’s exactly what happened with the finished result. A final ‘ah no thanks Mike, you can’t just walk over our national pride’ from the sneaky Emu.
It was a bit of a manic day for me. I didn’t have a super busy day in the gym. Yet I had to get a bunch of other things done. Including an appointment with my cranial osteopath and an unintentional short nap on the table, then pick up the Emu, blog post some information on getting a six pack then get this cooked and eaten before two events that evening. I did manage some down time in there, but I think a slight rush on the meal is what ultimately led to a subpar dinner.
I’ve never cooked Emu before and nor had Tom at the butcher, but he used his knowledge to suggest a couple of options. I returned home and once again I turned to an online search for some more information. I found a recipe for a jus (that’s a fancy name for sauce, remember) that sounded similar to Tom’s recommendation and decided to use that as a template but essentially run an experiment by creating my own reduction using some of my own lamb stock, a punnet of blueberries, muddled, a small squeeze of honey, 1 tablespoon of butter and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Besides the meat and sauce I also cubed some sweet potato, flavoured with coconut oil, salt, pepper and paprika and roasted for 30 minutes. A simple salad of cos lettuce, pomegranate seeds and a shaved carrot dressed with lemon juice rounded out the meal.
So what happened to the meat to make it so bad? It’s hard to put my finger on. This is a red meat, as you’ll see from the pictures. So I treated similar to the other coat of arms victim, the kangaroo meat. I seasoned it and seared it briefly in a hot pan then into a dish and in the oven for 20 minutes at 160°. It was at this point that I made the jus, and the salad was prepared with some brightly coloured pomegranate juice flying around and staining half of the kitchen as the seeds were removed.
Some organisation for the rest of the night ahead could be the culprit for the meat being in slightly too long, that’s hard to say. What I will say with absolute certainty, however, is that it was tough and dry and completely unsatisfying.
This was an oyster fillet, which to the best of my knowledge on a chicken is an incredibly tender part around the thigh. So if that carries over to an Emu then it must have been me.
Despite this fact, what I’m thinking is that this is a cut that should be cooked slowly, much in the same way I cooked the beef cheeks last week and the goat. Thus allowing the meat to soak up flavours and tenderise nice and slowly.
So as mentioned already, this meat was basically ruined. I still ate it all. I wanted to get through the whole thing and see if it improved, in the way the horse sirloin most definitely did. Sadly, the emu did not. Think ‘old boot’. I’m easily stubborn enough to push through and finish it (especially with the level of hunger I had leading into the meal and the busy night ahead). It wasn’t a total disaster though, as the experimental jus was beautiful, the sweet potato was an easy win and the uncomplicated salad simply got devoured.
My companion, however, did not push through and polish off the meat. She finished off her salad and kumara, but I think the meat was a step too far. I believe the restrained words were “it’s a little on the tough side” which was promptly followed by “I don’t think I’m a fan of emu” and the subsequent hunger as we walked out the door not long after.
Somewhat dejected after tarnishing a hard to come by meat and unfulfilled by the eating of it, thankfully our night was rescued by the comic genius and all round multilayered insanity of comedian Ross Noble. In excess of 2 hours listening to him speak was exhausting but a great distraction to the pathetic weekly meat dish that was emu.
Seeing as I had paid a bit of cash for the emu meat, and the amount of quite delicious jus that was left over, I decided to keep the remaining emu meat, add the jus and take to work the following day, with the surplus kumara and salad. This led to a hasty lunch in between sessions the next day, and a solid workout for my masticators. The meat had turned a deep purple by this stage having soaked up the rich blueberry colour from the sauce and it had tenderised it moderately, but still not enough to warrant searching for some emu meat again in the very near future.
So as alluded to above, I think this is worth trying again, but if it happens to be an oyster fillet, then it will be going into a slow cooked curry or similar dish. If it is another one of the seemingly endless cuts of emu meat, I’ll have to do some more research, and I think make sure nothing is planned immediately post dinner so I can give it all of my attention.
It still leaves me with unanswered questions:
Was it me?
Could it have been better or was that meat doomed to be tough?
I’m thinking a little of both, I took the wrong option for that cut and left it slightly too long. However, I’m certainly not letting this get me down, for next week is another meat. What will it be? Tom mentioned a couple that he had ordered, but who knows if they’ll arrive this week, I’ll bug him and see. However, a trip to the Blue Mountains of NSW and a bone chillingly cold morning at the Blackheath Growers Market turned out to be a very enjoyable way to spend a morning, as well as very fruitful meat purchasing.
What? Tune in next week.
I’ll steer clear of emu for a while and back to some much safer and easily cooked meats. In fact I can see a luscious, nutritious and immensely satisfying grass fed beef fillet very close on the agenda. Maybe it should be 1 each between me and the coat of arms. Thoughts?
Outside of that, I’d love to hear some of your cooking and meat disasters or less favourable meals.
What about the training post from last week? Who out there wants a six pack?
What about just losing the ever increasing gut for a start? Well, there are some easy steps to put in place to ensure that happens. Read my previous posts and you will be armed with the information to do so. Remember- there is no hard and fast rule for everyone, but the right habits to lay the foundation is key. Then you can tinker as suits you.
Some more training information coming your way later on this week. I’m excited about this one! I want to address and question what it is that we think is sexy on a female and what girls should be doing to get that body they want. Tune in then.
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Enjoy your meat!