Roll up, roll up, get your hairy rancid goat here! The perfect opportunity to catch up on late night infomercials, you'll be up all night with this little beauty! Reaquaint yourself intimately with your toilet bowl! Amaze your friends with shocking weightloss! Ever wanted to go vegetarian but just couldn't stop eating meat? This slimey little number will send you straight to the soy aisle!
I had some friends around for dinner last night, and was quite excited at the prospect of cooking goat for the first time. I've been meaning to get my hands on some nice spring milk-fed capretto from my local butcher for a little while now, but ended up buying a goat leg in Geraldton when I was there recently as it was on special, and quite a good price. The leg was frozen, so I took it out to defrost in the fridge the other day in preparation for last night's dinner. When I got it out to marinate yesterday morning, I was ill prepared for the horror that was to meet me. The vacuum seal wasn't sealed, so the blood had oozed out into the bag I had luckily placed it in. Not such a big deal, just a bit gross to deal with. I thought I detected a strange odour, but opened up the meat anyway and instantly wished I hadn't as my nose was assaulted with rancid fumes. Being unfamiliar with goat meat I thought for a second that perhaps this was just how raw goat smells, but on closer inspection the meat also had a lovely slimey sheen to it, and just to top things off it also had clumps of hair on it. Mmmmmmmmmmmm slimey hairy rancid goat.
Into the bin the slimey hairiness went, and to the internet I turned to try and somehow find a butcher than not only stocked goat, but was open on Sundays. A seemingly impossible task, and I expected that I would have to use lamb instead, but then I came across a stall called Poacher's Pantry at the Malaga Market so off I went to Malaga on a goat mission. Happily, when I made my way successfully through the gauntlet of bogans to Poacher's Pantry, I found 2 kilos of diced goat leg sitting next to the ostrich sausages. Sadly, I also discovered that this newfound source of interesting meats is soon to close down, but the upside was that the goat was 20% off. I wish I'd bought the ostrich snags too, who knows when an opportunity for cut price ostrich sausages will present itself again?
Home I rushed, now behind the eight ball in terms of dinner prep (although I possibly may have stopped off for some celebratory duck spring rolls at Phi Yen on the way home), but rejoicing in the fact that goat was still on the menu. This was particularly worth celebrating as I had been dorky enough to actually print off the menu.
The menu for the evening began with some lamb koftas that were left over from Mum's birthday party and had been patiently waiting in the freezer (uncooked) for a special occasion, such as to celebrate the sourcing of non-hairy goat. As with at the party, I served them with some raita, and couldn't resist a little mint garnish. Unfortunately I don't have a menu for the koftas as they were made by my sister who used a few different taste.com.au kofta recipes to come up with the final product, but I can share the raita recipe I used.
1/2 cup low fat natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tb mint leaves, chopped
1/2 lebanese cucumber, seeded and finely chopped or grated
Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
I was lucky enough to receive a sample of Blu Gourmet Pearl Couscous from Liz at Haystac some time ago, and had been planning to serve it with goat reminiscent of the tasty (yet terribly bony and stingy on the meat) goat tagine with Israeli couscous dish I had at Bella Vista a few months back. The couscous came with some tasty sounding recipes, by Gabriel Gaté no less (oui oui!), but given that I would be using the couscous as a bed for the saucy goat dish I decided to keep the ingredients to a minimum and cook it with the wild porcini mushrooms that Evelyne sent me in her Montreal foodie exchange package.
I really liked the taste of this goat dish, but next time I would cut the root vegetables into smaller pieces (which I ended up doing this time). The meat was also much better after being in the cooker for four hours, so I'd cook it for at least that long as well. The sauce was also not quite as thick as I would have preferred, which I think would have worked better with the pearl couscous as opposed to something better able to sop up a runnier sauce (like normal couscous or mashed potato), but I did end up adding extra stock to the goat as I was using more meat than the original recipe so I would not do this next time.The couscous though was really great, and I loved the flavour and colour that the wild mushrooms added! I really like the texture of pearl couscous, and will certainly be buying it to try some of Monsieur Gaté's recipes, or coming up with my own.
Slow Cooked Capretto
Slightly adapted from the Goat Tagine recipe by Anna Gare from Best in Australia
2 kg diced goat leg meat (or whatever cut you like)
400 g sweet potato, cut into large chunks
2 medium parsnips cut into 3 or 4
2 medium carrots cut in half
10 shallots, peeled
5 Roma tomatoes chopped into quarters
Rind of a lemon and half an orange
2 Bay leaves
1 cassia bark (use a cinnamon quill if you can't get this)
600 ml chicken stock
2 cans chick peas washed and drained
3 tsp Smoked Paprika pimento
½ tsp Allspice
1½ tsp coriander seeds ground
3 cardamom pods ground and husks removed
3 Cloves ground
1 tsp sea salt
3 Cloves Garlic finely chopped
1 Chilli seeds removed and finely chopped
10 g Ginger finely chopped
2 Tb Olive Oil
Freshly chopped coriander or parsley
1. Mix all spice ingredients together and rub over goat. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge, allowing to marinate for 2 hours.
2. Add a little oil to heavy based pot or a large tagine & lightly sauté onions, potatoes, carrots & parsnip - put aside.
3. Lightly brown marinated goat, then remove.
4. Place sautéed veg back in pot or tagine or slow cooker & put meat & rest of ingredients on top (except chickpeas).
5. Pour over stock, cover with lid and cook on low heat in oven or stove top for pot/tagine, or in slow cooker on high for 3 hrs, stirring once or twice and adding drained chick peas in last ½ hr of cooking time.
6. Sprinkle garnish over top and serve to table in tagine if that's what you're using, or in a nice big attractive dish, or plate it up individually with something like the following side dish...
Wild Porcini Pearl Couscous
25 g dried wild porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups pearl couscous
2 cups warm water
1 tsp olive oil
1. Place the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with the warm water, leaving them to soak for 30 minutes to an hour, or until they have softened and the water has turned into a beautiful mushroomy stock.
(I learnt from this recent post that you may then want to squeeze the excess water from the mushrooms and rinse them in several changes of fresh water to get rid of any grit or sand. When saving the mushroom soaking water for later use, you may also want to strain it through a cloth or paper towel lined sieve to catch any grit in the water.)
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot. Add the couscous to the pan and sauté until lightly toasted, around a minute or so.
3. Add the mushrooms and their stock to the pan, stir it all together and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
5. Fluff couscous with a fork to separate the pearls, then taste and season if if necessary.
6. Serve with something delicious, such as slow cooked capretto!
Now, all these dishes may well be very tasty and interesting, but they were soon forgotten when it was time for dessert. If you have never made your own sticky date pudding, or had failures in the past, YOU MUST MAKE THIS DISH. I can still taste it now (she says, wiping the crumbs off her face from eating leftovers for afternoon tea).
The only downside to making this dish is having the voices of Gary, George and Matt continually talking in your head while you make it, as it's a MasterChef recipe. I was particularly channelling Matt when I was making the caramel for the almond praline. I resisted the urge to fashion a fetching cravat out of paper towel.
Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
180g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1¼ cups (310ml) water
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (165g) firmly packed brown sugar
60g butter, softened chopped
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
½ cup (110g) caster sugar
¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced). Lightly grease eight (½ cup capacity) metal dariole moulds.
2. Place dates and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Remove from the heat. Add bicarbonate of soda, stir until dates start to break down, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
3. Beat butter and sugar in a bowl using a hand beater, gradually add eggs one at a time, beat until light and fluffy.
4. Add date mixture, stir to combine. Carefully fold through sifted flour, divide mixture evenly between the eight moulds, until 2/3 full. (I really was not at all careful in my manner of folding through the sifted flour. In fact, I was pretty rough as it was quite lumpy with flour at first)
5. Place moulds in a baking tray, carefully pour water in tray until it comes up 1/3 of the side of the moulds. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until golden and skewer comes out clean.
6. Meanwhile, for the almond praline, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook caramel without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Scatter almonds onto a baking paper-lined oven tray, pour over caramel and cool until set. Break praline into pieces.
7. For the butterscotch sauce, combine butter, sugar, cream and vanilla in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring sauce to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
8. To serve, invert the hot pudding onto a serving plate, top with butterscotch sauce and shards of praline. (and some ice cream... go on)
I'm off to Bali on Wednesday for a lot of relaxing and eating and drinking and massages and swimming and certainly no sunburning, no no, with my fabulous soon-to-be-married bestie C, so I shall see you all when I return (not sunburnt)!
Oh I can't help myself... just one more gratuitous pudding shot...