If you’re still trying to decide what to serve at the dinner table or at your next holiday party, something different to consider: goat meat. Cathy Isom has some different suggestions to add goat meat to your holiday gathering.
This story is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm.
This recipe, provided by chef Geoffrey Blythe using Shepherd Song’s goat meat, practically guarantees tender and delectable results, with the mild flavor of the meat enhanced, but not overpowered, by the marinade and rub.
Why try goat meat? Environmentally, goats move gently across the earth while delicately browsing. They do not adapt well to factory farm environments, so meat goats are seldom if ever raised using intensive and medicated methods.
Similar to deer, goats thrive on brush; they browse, turning foods humans cannot digest into valuable protein from meat and milk. The meat of young goats is delicate and succulent without the stronger flavors of venison or the fat layers of lamb. Goats have readily adapted to a variety of environments from deserts to tropics to highlands.
A goat perched on an apparently inaccessible cliff is a common image. Goats survive in environments where vegetables shrivel, even with irrigation. Their digestive systems are designed to break down brush, leaves, and grasses and to extract value from them. Poison ivy, young burdock, thistles, nettle, box elder leaves — all those things considered negative in your yard or garden, are highly nutritious to goats. And of course, goats love flowers, too. It is hard for them to resist the taste of a tender blooming rose, and thorns do not deter them.
Because of their unfussy habits and the flavor of their meat, goats are an important meat source for diverse cultures throughout the world. Goat meat is generally preferred for special occasions such as weddings, births, and coming-of-age ceremonies, even when other meats are readily available at a lower price. What do these cultures know that we don’t?
Holiday Leg of Goat
Photos and recipe provided by Chef Geoffrey Blythe
Cooking time: 1 hour
Prep time: 45 minutes
2 pounds boneless or bone-in goat leg
⅓ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 tablespoon Cinq Baies (a mixture of white, black, and green peppercorns plus pink pepper and either Jamaican pepper or coriander)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon fenugreek seed
½ teaspoon Black mustard seed
1 teaspoon poppy seed
½ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
4 spring onions, chopped
3 scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed and seeded
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1. Rub the meat generously with salt and pepper. Place in a large marinating bag with the white wine vinegar, and allow it marinate for 45 minutes.
2. Combine all the whole spices in a heavy-bottomed pan and toast over high heat for 2 minutes, or until they begin to pop. Remove from the pan. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon.
3. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind and mix well.
4. Add the spring onions, peppers, salt, soy sauce, and lime juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse till everything is chopped finely. Add the spices and pulse a few more times to mix well.
5. Remove the meat from the vinegar, and gently wipe off any excess vinegar. Coat the meat with the spice mixture, and return to the marinating bag Place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
6. Remove the meat from the refrigerator, and allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300°F, and prepare a hot grill, if desired.
7. Over high heat, or on the grill, lightly char the marinade and sear the outside of the meat. Transfer the roast to a baking sheet with a wire rack and place in the oven. Cook to an internal temperature of 140°F.
8. Allow the meat to rest, and slice thinly.
Chef Blythe was assisted with producing, creating and photographing this recipe by Sarah Miano.