Yesterday, I made goat for dinner.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Obviously, we have eaten some of our goats before. We have butchered kids two years in a row now, and every time we have eaten some of the meat. But this past butchering was the first time we actually put a whole goat in the freezer. Before that, we sold the kids to people who butchered them on site and then took the meat away for a big party (to which we were invited). See Goat Butchering Party.
Although I cooked a leg of goat on the day of slaughter for the men who were butchering, I had not removed any of the meat from the freezer to cook until last night. I was a little reluctant. It's funny - every time I have eaten goat, I liked it. "Hey, that's not too bad," was my reaction, and sometimes "man, that's really good!" Yet, I never got over the faint distaste I felt when I raised it to my lips and opened my mouth. The thought of eating goat was what I disliked - I'm not sure if it had more to do with the fact of being present for the butchering or with having known the individual animals, or with goat being a "non-food animal" for Americans.
Whatever the problem was, it's all over now. The leg of goat I made last night was probably the single best-tasting piece of meat I've ever eaten in my life. There is one steak from a steakhouse in St. Louis that I remember as being a serious contender, but actually, I think this goat was better.
Goat needs long, slow cooking, I've decided, at least, our goat does. Here's what I did last night:
Braised Goat, Yucateco Style
1 3-4 pound piece of goat (the piece I used was labeled "loin" but I think that was wrong. I think it was actually a substantial section of hind leg.)
Thaw meat if frozen and place in a big ziploc.
In a big mortar and pestle or in the blender, blend together 4 cloves garlic, several allspice berries, several whole cloves, 3/4 tsp cumin seed, ditto peppercorns, 1 tsp salt, pinch red pepper flakes, big pinch thyme, tablespoon olive oil, tablespoon achiote paste, 1.5 cups orange juice, juice of one lime, a half can or so beer (lager) and a tablespoon of cider vinegar. Add a branch of rosemary to the bag (do not blend rosemary in blender). Put marinade in the bag with the meat and let rest 3-4 hours, turning as needed.
No later than 3 in the afternoon, put goat with all the marinade into a large baking dish. Quarter three yellow onions and add to dish. Bake, uncovered, at 325 for 2 hours. Baste occasionally, and turn the meat over once (if the shape of the roast allows this). If marinade thickens too much, loosen with orange juice.
At about 2 hours, test the meat with two forks to see if it pulls away from bone easily. It should be starting to shred. At this point, add to dish (all veggies diced into 1/2" dice) 1 large carrot, one large stick celery, and 1 large potato. Make sure veggies are all coated with juices and leave to bake approximately 1 hour more.
By 6 pm, the meat should be falling apart, the veggies tender, and everyone salivating from the incredible aroma. Serve meat with white rice and lots of fresh hot corn tortillas. This was just out-of-this-world mind blowingly good.
I think I'll try goat ribs next.