Possums make the cut in kitchen
ONE of Australia’s most polarising protected species now comes served as a popular pie.
A Victorian chef has put possum on the menu in a move that is set to spice up Australia’s fine food industry. Chef Leonie Clayton has been serving up the marsupial at her Stawell restaurant for months and said local foodies have been loving it.
‘’ I have been cooking for 32 years and have always loved experimenting with different ingredients and meats,’’ Mrs Clayton said.
Wallaby, kangaroo and crocodile have all made the cut in her kitchen but she said it was possum that had drawn the greatest response.
‘’ We started cooking it as a pie and people couldn’t get enough,” she said. ‘’ There would always be at least one person at the table who would try it.’’
Patrons at Stawell’s Goldfields Comfort Inn can currently enjoy the Possum Cassoulet for $ 31.50 but Mrs Clayton hasn’t ruled out bringing back the pie. She said possum meat was sweet and surprisingly tender.
“Some might argue that eating a protected marsupial is cruel but the same could be said for any protein on your plate.’’
She has been sourcing the possums from a farmer in Tasmania where a commercial harvesting management plan has existed since 2010. It allows permit holders to either shoot or trap the animals to be slaughtered by a licensed processor. The scheme has been hailed for keeping possum populations manageable.
“If numbers are at pest levels and you can value- add to something you have to cull anyway, it makes good sense,’’ a department insider said.
Celebrity chef Stefano de Pieri said it was an innovative idea.
“It’s all protein, no problem,’’ he said. “If I was in a restaurant that served possum I would certainly try it and I don’t think there is any fear of reducing the possum population.’’
MAGIC: Goldfields Comfort Inn chef Leonie Clayton has put possum on the menu.