I can safely say that I had never (knowingly) eaten camel. Ridden on one yes, but considered eating one? No. It sounds like a contender for Andrew Zimmern‘s Bizarre Foods, not something you would find in Ohio. So how did it come about that I sat down to a dinner of camel sausages?
As many things have done this year, it started with a trip to a taco truck. We have some interesting experiences taco trucking and this was one of them. One evening when we were at Los Potosinos chatting with the owner Lidia, she was animatedly talking about camello. We asked a few questions to make sure that we were understanding correctly and that this wasn’t some new variation of beef or pork offal. No, she was quite clear, it was camel. She explained that the owner of a neighborhood convenience store had camel meat for sale and was disposing of off-cuts in a nearby dumpster. Local residents were complaining about the pungent dumpster smell and blaming it on the taco truck. Lidia was agitated because they had called the public health inspectors and she had been wrongfully accused.
We sympathized with Lidia but at the same time our curiosity was piqued. This was soon after project octopus and we gleefully teased Bear that we had found a new cooking project for him, possibly a candidate for the smoker. We left him to guess but to no avail, our clue of ‘they have them at the zoo’ not being very helpful in narrowing it down. He was left mystified. A little joking around, one failed attempt to find the aforementioned camel meat and then we forgot all about it.
That was until our little jaunt to Cincinnati where we stumbled upon some camel sausages with Moroccan seasoning at Kroeger and Sons Meats. They sell over 30 different sausages and apparently they sell quite a lot of camel ones. Of course, we couldn’t resist trying them and we invited Bear and Colleen to a ‘Moroccan’ dinner.
Colleen was less enthusiastic than her husband about our choice of protein. Bear on the other hand calmly assured me that he had the perfect wine to go with camel. It was my turn to be mystified (and slightly sceptical)…. but he was right. A Lebanese Chateau Musar did seem as close a pairing as possible.
The camel sausages were extremely lean but unnervingly turned bright red as they cooked. We made sure they were well done and although a little wary we tucked in. The flavor was great with pine nuts, cinnamon and lots of mint. If you didn’t know, you would have thought they were lamb, especially given the mint seasoning, which goes to show that not all unusual foods taste like chicken!
So there you have it – camel sausages from Findlay Market. Hungrywoolf approved ;-p