"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Farm Folks Are Friendly (Home-style Goat Tacos)

Like most other bloggers, I suspect, I have an online community made up of people who read my blog and leave comments and of those whose blogs I read and comment on. As you can see by the blogroll on my sidebar (oh wow, I'm afraid the internet has not, generally speaking, given rise to poetic turns of phrase), my community is mostly made up of other farmer/homesteader types, both nearby and far away. One of the cooler blogs run by a neighbor of mine is the Schoonover Farm blog. D. and her husband run a great little operation in the Skagit valley focused mostly on fiber. Here is a photo of a few of her animals, healthy and sassy in the dead of winter. I especially like the white guy in the right background caught in the middle of a caprine leap.

D. Schoonover contacted me not so long ago, via the blog, and asked me if I'd be interested in a goat of hers as food. She had a particular wether (castrated male) who was very aggressive and they had decided to put him down. They themselves are not fans of goat meat, but she knew that my family is, and did we want to pick him up and make use of him?

Well, hell, we sure did! She may have been inspired to make this generous offer by my incessant whining about how much food it takes to feed eleven people a day when you are accustomed to feeding only five (my in-laws were in town for an extended visit). I think that my duck-hunting neighbor may also have been moved to donate his kill to us after reading my post on how much money I was spending at Costco (Quack Quack Christmas (Shout Out to Zion)). This same neighbor came by New Year's Eve morning with a gigantic turkey - storebought, not hunted - and said that as he and his wife were going out of town on an extended trip, we'd be doing them a favor by accepting the bird. Doubtful though I was about this claim, I nonetheless took the turkey with alacrity and gratitude. It was delicious.

As was D.'s wether. Early New Year's Day, I sent my husband and his brother and sister down to pick up the goat (who had been swiftly and mercifully dispatched by D.). We called on our trusty goat-butchering-buddy, Crecencio, to come and help us and of course to bring his family and feast with us. Homero did not wait for Crecencio to arrive, but began right away to skin and gut the goat. He said he's witnessed at least four slaughters and ought to be able to do it himself by now.
Once again, as with the roadkill deer (New To Farm Life: The Redneck Rubicon (WARNING - GRAPHIC)), we found that a sturdy swingset makes a mighty fine gallows, and a plastic kiddie pool a very serviceable receptacle for guts and such. I made myself scarce, so I can't say much about how the actual butchering went. By eleven o'clock in the morning, the goat was dismembered and firmly ensconced in a truly enormous kettle, along with various Mexican seasonings, and spent the next four hours steaming gently over a wood fire.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, I, Mama, Temy, and Crecencio's wife Maricela went to work cooking the accompaniments. Basically we were making tacos, which means that the only truly necessary sides are a couple of different salsas, finely chopped onion and cilantro, and quartered limes. I have been a guest in Maricela's kitchen a few times now, and her salsas are absolutely divine, so I stood aside and let her go to town in my kitchen. However, I watched extremely closely and can now offer a couple of recipes:

Salsa Verde Cruda - Raw Green Sauce

several tomatillos - about eight - husked and rinsed
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and rinsed
3-5 serranos (if you like it hot) or jalapenos (if you like it hot but a little less so)
1/2 medium yellow onion, skinned and chopped
juice of one fat lime

combine all ingredients in blender and blend until nearly but not quite smooth.

Salsa Roja Cocida - Cooked Red Sauce

1 oz chile de arbol - small dried red chiles (1 package) or more to taste.
1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
pinch cumin seed

In a shallow pot, simmer whole chiles for 15-20 minutes. Then add tomatillos and continue to simmer another 20-30 minutes. Transfer to blender along with other ingredients. Blend until as smooth as it's going to get. Salt to taste. This salsa is extremely hot - watch out!

I also cooked a pot of black beans as a side dish. Add a tall stack of fresh hot corn tortillas and you are good to go! Some people might like sour cream or avocado slices, or some finely grated cotija cheese, but we are purists. Do not, however, neglect a case of icy cold Corona or Pacifico beer.

Happy New Year to all, and a great shout of thanks to the Schoonover Farm Family, who, I can testify, really know how to raise a goat!


Garden Lily said...

What a blessing to have neighbours and friends like that. Your salsas sound delicious.

Anonymous said...

Wow- I really wasn't expecting a whole blog with photos but so glad to hear the goat tacos turned out well. You are very welcome. Nice to hear his death came to good.

dilli said...

aint nothing in this world better than completely fresh tacos.. back when i had the mexicano hubby at least twice a year we would gather and butcher either a hog or goat with all the trimmings of salsa n tacos..

Awesome neighbors btw.. sounds like you have found a great place to call home

Laura said...

I miss cabrito... I'm a SoCal transplant to the northwest, and am very pleased to have found your blog (mainly for the salsa recipes...).

However - good on ya for helping D. out. It's always my preference to "freezer train" any belligerant or not-up-to-standard livestock. The folks at work say when the world blows up they're coming to my house because I have a freezer full of meat!

AnyEdge said...

I would pay at least $0.75 to watch a goat eat a taco. (Not a goat taco, just a big messy vegetarian taco... I'm not a monster.). I think that would be hilarious.

Aimee said...

bro, that is a dream I can make come true when you get here.

Snohomish Shepherdess said...

Aimee, just found your blog and I love it! I love seeing your hoof to table real deal, real meal posts. It all looks delicious!

Aimee said...

Laura -
search under "recipe" or "Mexican food" for many more recipes, mostly learned from my Oaxacan family.

Shepherdess -Cool! Welcome, neighbor!

Aimee said...
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