Catching up on some primal food blogging today, as I’ve been pretty lax as of late. I’ll probably pop off several these on this Sunday afternoon to give this otherwise quiet day some purpose. I cook almost everything that goes into my mouth, and take photos on my iPhone when it’s something new or unique, but taking pics of colorful food does not a blog write. So, I think we’ll start of with… Jamaican Goat Curry.
I’ve made this three times now, and part of the reason I like this dish is simply going to Halal butcher near downtown Boston. Such a fun experience for me. These guys have goat legs, heads, pork belly and ribs (yeah I thought this was weird at a Halal market too), hanging chickens, beef ribs and more! The goats are killed the day before to order and diced/cubed upon request. Move over shrink wrap and Styrofoam! Grabbing my goat meat with some veggies and spices from the nearby market, I’m ready to get my curry underway.
Goat Side Notes:
– Goats like other ruminants are adapted to eat large amounts of grass and leaves, breaking down the tough fiber within their 4-compartment stomach (the first of which is called the rumen stomach), converting the greeny goodness into usable nutrients, such as beta-carotene, which gives their milk that yellowish hue most people never get to see anymore do to grain-feeding and over production of dairy
– Goats tend to be very popular among ethnic groups hailing from countries with limited grasslands, water and economic resources, as they’re hearty creatures who don’t require nearly as much overall investment as cows.. also, goats weigh far less than moo-cows and therefore don’t trample softer soils like cows do (I read this interesting article on the ethics of eating meat in Australia, which eventually trailed into how their famous grass-fed cows are great, but not quite idea for Aussie-land vs the kangaroo which is light on its feet and great tasting too!)
– Lastly, goats have crazy eyes! Apparently, most hoofed-mammals do, but I think it’s far creepier and noticeable with goats. I checked it out online and these sideways, devilish slits were, in fact, craftily developed in order to expand their “perifs” – scanning the horizon for predators is a must I guess when you’re out there all alone. That makes sense to me and it therefore no longer creeps me out (actually, it’s quite admirable), and with that, it’s time to resume the blog post…
Image from berglondon.com.. or hell!
Simple ingredients make the best recipes.
– 3lbs Goat Meat*, large (2.5″) cubes
– 8-10 tbsp Curry Powder
– 2 tbsp Allspice (or zero if above is Jamaican Curry Powder)
– 2 Large Onions, sliced into strips
– Entire Head of Garlic (seriously), minced
– Plenty of Coconut Oil or Tallow (for high-heat cooking)
– 2 Cans of Coconut Milk
– 3 cups of beef broth or water
– 1-2 Scotch Bonnet Peppers or Habeneros (latter is easier to find)
– 3-4 Potatoes, large chunks
– 15 oz Can of Tomatoes (crushed)
– 1 tbsp Thyme
– Salt and Pepper
(*note: The leaner and less boney, the better – I love little bits of fats (lot-o-bits) when fried and crispy, but too much makes for sad stews. Between the extra small bones to take out, you’ll also need to do a ton of fat skimming before this is ready to be served) .
The success of the meal comes far before any stew comes into play. It’s all in the prep work (my favorite part). Wash and dry (wash AND dry) the meat thoroughly with cold water and a kitchen cloth before anything else. Dry meat browns caramelizes much better, executing those slightly sweet and smoky notes you’ll want to fully appreciate the meal. Salt the meat generously with Kosher or sea salt.
Important: you can cook this in a slow-cooker during the day while at work or for a few hours (at least 3) while at home in your dutch oven. I often face this dilemma and need to decide if the particular dish in question worth the wait after work or if I just want simple meaty, savory food seconds after kicking off my shoes. The latter’s only sometimes the case with me as I often leave work around 4:30. This dish works both in the slow-cooker or in an enamel dutch-oven, but dutch-oven are… iffy when left alone for 8-9 hours in a gas oven. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it, but I try not to roll the dice too often.
Next, get out the ol’ cast-iron skillet (crock pot method) or dutch oven, and throw it on med-high heat with a few tbsp’s of fat in there. Once hot, add 2-3 tbsp of the blended curry/allspice mix the pan. Stir constantly to avoid burning (and beware that you may sneeze and cough a bit during this part) for about a minute. Then add the meat in individually to ensure they all have enough space to fit.. you’ll probably need to repeat this step several times. Brown them in this spicy/fatty bliss for a minute or two for each side then set them aside with tongs until all pieces are done.
Add a little more fat, then throw in the diced peppers and garlic, followed about 2 minutes later by the onions. Stir frequently until the onions brown up pretty well, but only slightly dark.
Toss in the crushed tomatoes. thyme and broth, and stir around. At this point, you’ll add in either one or two cans of coconut milk (full-fat – stop slapping lean people around the tropical world in face with “light” coconut watery white stuff) to the pan, depending on the cooking method. Slow cook it for 8 hours, and you’ll wanna leave one can out until the end, as the creaminess tends to render down to more oil after too much cooking, and what’s curry without cream? Otherwise toss both cans in. Stir around, making sure to get up anything possibly stuck to this high-heat pan, then turn off the stove and pour this into the crock pot with the meat, or turn off the heat and add the meat to the dutch oven.
With either method, feel free to start right away or let the pot sit in the fridge overnight. The rest is easy. Turn the crock pot on low and leave for work… or toss it in the oven at 350° F for about 2-2.5 hours… or keep on the stove top at a low simmer for about the same time. When it’s about done, or you’ve just got home from a thrilling day at work crushing your performance metrics, start removing any big bits of fat and bone from the meat, then skim the surface to remove most of the liquid oil at the top.
Proceed to toss in the potatoes (boiling them slightly in salted water before tossing them into the crock pot will speed it up tremendously) and let it cook until potatoes can be easily pierced by a fork. Let sit for a long while then serve with rice or alone. I like to make Thai Coconut Rice. Toss on some chopped cilantro if you’d like.. no tropical dish should clash with cilantro!
I can’t tell you how awesome I find this recipe.. meat, coconut creaminess, curry and a little starch. So good.. and it makes for amazing leftovers all week long!