On a recent visit to my parents, conversation turned towards my exotic meat adventures. Being frequent visitors to Lidl, they mentioned that there were some interesting meats in the freezer section, but that they hadn't payed too close attention and so weren't entirely sure what was there. I had heard tales of exotic meats in Lidl in the past, but being a store which changes their wares as often as most people change their socks, I'd never actually seen any myself, and was starting to put this down to a campfire story.
Undeterred - and always keen to try something new - I saddled up and headed to my nearest branch to see if I could find something different, and for once they did not disappoint!
Amongst the three bird roasts and gammon joints, they had two offerings which I hadn't tried before; quail and moose leg steaks. I was initially leaning towards the quail, but after a quick look on the back of the packet the cooking instructions seemed a little overly complicated for my simple tastes, so I decided to opt for the moose.
As with my other exotic steaks, I kept with my practice of leaving them unseasoned so as not to interfere with the natural flavour, and sealing and frying them lightly on either side for a nice rare consistency. Normally I'd only fry for 2-3 minutes on either side, but the moose leg steaks were quite thick and the packet recommended 5 minutes per side, so I decided to err on the side of caution and follow this recommendation.
Normally I'd mention the aroma at this point before moving onto the taste and texture, but unlike my previous meaty discoveries, the moose leg didn't really have much going on in this department. This was a little disappointing, but by no means a game-changer, and luckily I had some nicely seasoned new potatoes to make up for things!
Cutting into the first steak revealed the moose to be a tender meat. Not as tender as ostrich fan tail I had recently (which may be the tenderest meat I've ever eaten!), but certainly more tender than a beef steak. The five minutes on each side had left the steaks cooked to a medium consistency - I prefer mine rare, but can still enjoy anything aside from well-done, so if I were to have these again I'd definitely reduce the cooking time slightly.
The taste was certainly an unusual one. Moose isn't shy with it's flavour, so it could have gotten away with a little seasoning, and surprisingly it tastes like a cross between liver and beef steak. The liver-ish taste is very distinctive and unmistakeable, but not as strong as actual liver, and the beefy flavour is running alongside to complement it.
Unfortunately I've never liked liver since I was a child, and as I've grown and my tastebuds have developed, this is one thing which hasn't changed. The liver flavour wasn't enough to put me off the moose entirely (so I was able to finish my dinner fortunately!), but it was enough to ensure I won't be going back to them.
However, this is purely my personal preference! If, on the other hand, you enjoy both steak and liver, then these will probably be right up your alley!
Living alone, I did find the quantity of three a little bit awkward - two would have done me quite nicely, but would have left one left over which wouldn't have been enough for a full meal the next day, so I had to go for all three at once which a little bit too much!
If you manage to catch your local Lidl branch at a time they have these in stock, they'll set you back £6.99 for a pack of three. This does seem a little overpriced in my opinion, as there are more interesting exotic meats with lower price tags if you're prepared to do a little leg work.