Goat meat, (Chevon if your french or Capretto in Italian), is the most widely eaten meat in the world and Australia is its’ largest exporter. I’m not kidding!
That being said, this delicious meat is incredibly underused by everyday Australians because of a perception that it’s pungent and gamey. The flavour is actually mild, with the best meat coming from younger animals that are six to nine months old. Goat is at its’ most delicious when cooked low and slow to preserve tenderness and moisture ,which makes it perfect for the colder months.
It is best to start the process by browning your meat with olive oil in a heavy pan. Use a deboned leg or shoulder for 4 or more and tenderloin if you’re getting cosy with your favourite person. Salt and pepper your meat liberally, then cook at a high heat until every surface is coloured with caramel goodness. Remove the meat from the pot, add aromatics and veg, then deglaze with wine or other mild acidic liquids making sure to rescue every last little bit of flavour from the bottom of the pot. Return the meat to this deliciousness, add stock and simmer until the goat falls apart to the touch.
Now here’s where the fun begins with these ideas for aromatic, vegetable, deglazing and stock flavours, but really; use whatever floats your goat!
For a beautiful double goat treat, toss a couple of chopped red onions in a deep pot, the zest of an orange, 2 chopped chillies and a teaspoon of fennel seeds. When the onions are soft, deglaze with half a bottle of chardy. Return the meat to the pot with a chopped fennel bulb and cover with vegetable stock and a teaspoon of sugar. Cook until the meat is tender then season to taste. Serve with a warm roasted beetroot, walnut and Chèvre salad.
Hit the pot with the flavours of India. Add 2 sliced brown onions, 4 cloves of garlic crushed, 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, tumeric, ground cloves, chilli flakes and ground ginger. When the onions are soft deglaze with half a cup apple cider vinegar. Return your meat to the pot and cover with a can of coconut milk, a can of crushed tomatoes and veg stock. Serve with steamed basmati rice, fresh coriander and chopped and salted limes.
Anchovies are also underused, but when added to a flavour base of aromatics for your goat. OMG…. Thats all I’m saying. Finely chop your onions this time, with 2 carrots and 2 sticks of celery finely diced. Add 8 anchovy fillets, 2 finely chopped chillies, the zest of 2 lemons, 20 grinds of black pepper and 4 garlic cloves crushed. Cook until the anchovies are completely dissolved. Deglaze your pot with a light red wine, return the meat, cover with beef stock and throw in a bunch of thyme tied with string. Cook until soft, season to taste and remove the thyme. Serve with soft polenta and piles of freshly grated pecorino.
Dates love goat. Dates also love rosemary and these big bold flavours deserve massive big chunks of onion added to the pot with whole cloves of garlic smashed just a little. Cook until almost soft then pull a bunch of rosemary off its stalks and add to the pot. Throw in 2 big handfuls of dates, roughly chopped and the zest of 2 lemons. A Riesling is your deglazing buddy here with vegetable stock to cover your meat. We served our date goat at The Jam Pantry with cardamom and butter cooked semolina, and a gremolata laced with pomegranate seeds.
Ok. Now that I’ve inspired you, I guess I need to let you know how you can get your hands on some. Most butchers are able to source it for you with a quick call and at least a days’ notice. I’ve used Clancy James for our goat meat at The Jam Pantry. Support your local and they’ll always look after you. Ask for your leg or shoulder deboned to save you cooking time. You can also buy goat online if time is precious. Top Value Meat are awesome and can have a box delivered to your door, totes ma goats!!