Alpaca meat

Alpaca meat

The commercial farming of alpaca to now include the meat and hide industry has proven that the Australian alpaca  industry is now viable  in the long term  and provides the grower with an additional income stream. The return on capital investment allows existing growers to move on animals they can no longer use in their herd and in return purchase other genetics through matings or new females to improve their herds.

Previously, apart from genetics sought by breeders to bolster their herds from other breeders, there was no defined market or avenue to move on excess animals other than the guardian animals or ‘pets’ on an ad  hoc basis. In times  of drought and downsizing of sheep herds, these  markets can be limited.

Only wethers are sent to market and these can vary in age from 18 months to 60 months.  Processors report that so far, there has been no deterioration in quality in age differentiation, but naturally carcase weight will differ. Carcass weight is approximately 58% of live body weight, and each animal must have a body condition score of 2.75 or better.

100% of the animal is used  (including offal) from the neck to the shanks. Prime alpaca cuts include strip loin, rump,  shoulder roll, back straps and neck rosettes.

At 94 to 95 per cent fat free, it’s a very lean meat that is very high in iron, very high in protein, very low in cholesterol. Alpaca meat can also be very unforgiving when  you’re cooking, because it hasn’t got that fat in  it. The meat tastes somewhere between lamb and veal.

Look out for alpaca meat at a restaurant, cafe, winery or deli near you!

Alpaca Recipes

Matt Moran's Alpaca Curry

Alpaca Curry with Spanish Onion Chat Masala Salad

Source: Lifestyle Food 

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 kg alpaca neck rosettes, diced (see note)
  • 2 heaped tbsp ghee
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely grated
  • 2cm knob of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1½ tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see note)
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped palm sugar or jaggery, finely chopped (see note) 
  • 10 fresh curry leaves
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 200 gm paneer, cut into cubes (see note)
  • 12 snake beans, cut into batons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced into rounds
  • Steamed basmati rice and poppadoms, to serve

Chat masala spice mix

  • 2 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted carom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (see note)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of asafoetida powder (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp black salt

Dry-roast the fennel seeds and turmeric in a small pan over medium-high heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Finely grind in a mortar and pestle then combine in a large bowl with the alpaca meat, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

Melt the ghee in a large heavy-based saucepan or casserole over medium heat, add the onion and slowly sauté until onion is very tender (5 minutes), add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add the curry leaves, chilli and cinnamon, stir to combine, then add the alpaca and jaggery. Stir to combine well, add the water, coconut cream and fresh chilli and bring to the boil. Add the paneer and snake beans, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer until meat is tender (1¼ – 2 hours), then add lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, to make the chat masala spice mix, dry-roast the spices in a frying pan over low heat until fragrant and slightly darkened in colour (2-3 minutes). Finely grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, add the black salt and store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Separate the onion into rings and spread over a serving platter, season with a teaspoon or two of the chat masala spice mixture and serve with the alpaca curry along with steamed rice, poppadoms and accompaniments.

Note – Alpaca is a sweet-tasting red meat which is very high in protein and low in fat, with a flavour that is a cross between lamb and veal. It’s available from butchers and will need to be ordered in advance. You could also substitute lamb neck.
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar made from the sugarcane plant or from some species of palm. Black salt (also known as kala namak) has a distinctive pungent flavour of sulphur. Kashmiri chilli powder is a deep red chilli that is medium-hot in flavour.  Carom seeds (also called ajwain) are a strong almost thyme flavored seed a little bit smaller than a cumin seed. Dried mango powder (also called amchur) is made from dried and ground green mango and adds a lovely citrus flavour to curries and other dishes. Asafoetida is a spice made from the dried latex gum of a several species of the perennial herb ferula is often used as a digestive aid. Paneer is an Indian-style fresh curd cheese, similar to ricotta. Jaggery, black salt, Kashmiri chilli powder, carom seeds, dried mango powder, asafetida and paneer are available from specialist Indian food stores.

Alejandro Saravia's Huanta style alpaca shoulder

source: SBS Food

Ingredients

  • 1 alpaca shoulder
  • quinoa, to serve
  • 2 potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1 brown onion, halved and sliced

Brine

  • 500 g white sugar
  • 500 g table salt
  • 5 litres water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 fresh bay leaves

Huanta paste

  • 3 dried aji panca chillies, stalks trimmed
  • 3 dried aji mirasol chillies, stalks trimmed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500 ml(2 cups) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves

Instructions

Standing time 4 hours

To make the brine, place the sugar, salt and water in a large saucepan and whisk vigorously until sugar and salt dissolve. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. Add the spices and bay leaves and cool to room temperature. Add the alpaca to brine and stand for 4 hours.

To make the huanta paste, blanch the chillies in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Place the olive oil and garlic cloves in a saucepan over low heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the onion and stand for 10 minutes. Place chillies and olive oil mixture in a blender and process until smooth paste forms.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Spread the potatoes and onion evenly over the tray. Drain alpaca and pat dry. Thickly brush all over with huanta paste. Place on top of vegetables.

Cover tray with foil and cook for 3–4 hours, or until meat falls off the bone.

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