Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Go Goat Or Go Home! All #Goaterie All The Time!!

   I don't know when it was I first heard about #goaterie on Twitter. I know it was last week someone (La Fujimama) tweeted something, another responded and all of a sudden goat was in the air. Normally that's something one wants to be downwind of, but I was intrigued. An event where many people would present their goat dishes online in July. I have to admit here that I spent many years as a vegetarian and still prefer my veg dishes, but every once in a while, I do love a bit of goat. Maybe it's something that I experienced in the womb. My father likes to tell the story of taking my mother (an extremely assimilated Italian) to a family wedding reception up in wine country. The stories I heard growing up of that day were always so colorful that I hardly believed them until I saw the Coen Brothers' Film The Man Who Wasn't There. I then began to get the idea of what it must have been like for her meeting my dad's just off the boat family.
   My mother was expecting me and the time, and as she navigated my father's relations, someone handed her a plate of something delicious. After eating, she asked what it was. Capri she was told. It was only later my father let her know that capri, was goat. Needless to say that was the last time for many many years, I was close to goat meat.That was until I started cooking Indian food.
   When I started adding some meat to my diet, I figured it was either "go bold or go home," so I chose what I considered the most unusual (for me) meat I could get, goat meat. There were a lot of Indian recipes that actually called for goat meat but were adapted to lamb, which for many people is easier to come by. A couple of years ago Paula Wolfert and I found a guy at the Friday Sonoma Organic Farmer's Market who sold goat which was great, but he seems to have disappeared, and along with him, my goat connection. I wanted to participate in #goaterie but where is a girl to get her goat?!
   As it turns out Chowhound, egullet and Yelp were invaluable. Using them as  guides, I was able to track down a well-reviewed, reliable source of local goat meat, Carniceria Chapala right here in Sonoma. The place was everything I'd hoped for, and the owner of the market could not have been more helpful. He asked me where my family was from originally, and when I told him Italy, he said "Ah, we eat a lot of the same foods!"
   He was right. I saw cuts of meat there that I hadn't seen outside of my Nonnas' house. And I wanted them all. I was transfixed by the trotters but that was a bridge too far for Alan. Goat it was going to be. The butcher brought out a fresh goat leg and cut me 2 and 1/2 pounds of meat including bone, I was on my way to #goaterie.
    Since I was planning on doing my goat the Old Skool way in a clay pot, I knew I was going to be cooking it long and slow. Goat is a very lean and sometimes bony meat and can be tough if not cooked slllllooooooooowlllly. I always like to start on the day before I'm planning on serving, I cook the meat and let it sit overnight to mellow the flavors. The next  morning I scrape away any fat that's risen to the surface (a trick Paula Wolfert taught me.) in the case of the goat, this was almost nothing. Cooking meat this way allows one to have all the flavor of fat and none of the actual fat. The first part of this recipe is

Goat Vindaloo

The Marinade:
  Grind together:
 the seeds from 6 green cardamom pods
 1 tsp black peppercorns
 4 dried red chilies
 1 tsp of whole cloves
 a 4 inch cinnamon stick
 1 tsp of cumin seeds
 1/2 tsp of turmeric
 1/2 tsp of coriander seeds
 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
Pour all of this in a non reactive bowl and mix in:
  4 Tbs of Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Water Vinegar which is The Secret of the Vindaloo
  1 Tbs of dark molasses
 Mix it all together and pour it over the meat.
 Rub it in well, massage that goat! Make sure it's covered.
 Then put a lid on it and shove it in the fridge for a "rest" of about 3 hours.
  Once the goat has done it's little spa treatment in the coconut water vinegar, it's time for the pot, or as I like to call it, The Old Clay Hot Tub. I cook in clay, but this dish can be cooked in any sort of pot. The important thing is tenderize that meat!
  And here's the secret, grasshoppers....searing. It's the one place I step outside my clay because the pan has to be hot, hot, hot, and clay can crack, crack, crack!  So here's what to do.
 Lesson one: You can take the Goat out of the marinade but you can't take the marinade out of the goat. In other words. Save the marinade!

Searing the Goat:
 In a pan or skillet, heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot hot hot, add the goat pieces.
Cook them on each side about 3 minutes then turn. Imagine your goat on the beach at Malibu getting a perfect tan...or don't.
 The idea is to brown the goat quickly on each side and seal in the juices.
When the goat is browned, set it aside for a bit.

Cooking The Goat:
In a large pot heat 4 Tbs of vegetable or coconut oil.
When the oil is hot toss in:
 2 thinly sliced onions
Cook them down and stir them around until they start to darken
Add in:
 10 thinly sliced shallots
 4 seeded and chopped green chilies
 3 chopped tomatoes (if you have no access to ripe tomatoes good quality canned is okay)
   A 2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger julienned.
 Stir it all up well and add in:
  The Goat
1 cup of water
  The left over marinade
  Turn the heat down and let everything come up to a slow boil.
 When it boils add in:
 1 small lump of jaggery or 1 tsp of dark brown sugar
 Kind of looks like a goat already huh?
 Put the lid on the pot and let the meat simmer until it's tender. When I cook in clay I let it cook for about 3 to 4 hours slowly. Then I go watch a movie, work, whatever. This is a dish that can be left alone, just give it an occasional stir and look-see.
 Check it for seasoning and add some salt to taste.
 Refrigerate it overnight. The next day, skim off any fat and then slowly reheat. This is a dish that can safely simmer slowly another three hours or so before serving. Can you say "falling off the bone?".  Now for...

The Secret of the Vindaloo:
  The Vindaloo is fiery, the Vindaloo is spicy, the Vindaloo needs to be tamed. Potatoes are known for taming the hottest of hot dishes, and that is the secret of the Vindaloo. As the story goes, the dish started out as a Portugese dish, Vinha d"Alhos, made up of meat, wine, garlic and spices.  The dish worked it's way around India. In Mumbai the wine changed into vinegar. In Goa the vinegar became coconut palm vinegar and traditional spices added. The Vindaloo is not supposed to be served with potatoes and yet frequently is. Why? Because it's hot? No. Aloo is the Hindi word for potato, so restaurants started adding them to the dish. So did I.

 Adding The Aloo:
   Drop 3 large, boiling potatoes in water. Bring them to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes or so.
  Peel the potatoes. Cut them into cubes and add them to the Vindaloo about 1 hour before serving.
The potatoes take a bit of the heat out of the Vindaloo mellowing all the flavors.
Sprinkle it with chopped fresh cilantro and it's ready to go.
It was accompanied with  rice curd, beets with mustard seed, beans with coconut and peanut powder, tomato raita and coorgi roti, all recipes to follow. And lunch was served.
    I served this with one of the most amazing wines we've ever found for Indian food. ZMOR Gewurztraminer
  Unfortunately, just as we discovered this wine, we also discovered that the Gewurztraminer vines were being ripped out and that there is just a limited amount of this wine left. Don't you just hate when that happens? Of course we made an immediate run to the wine shop. So future guests may have the experience.

Now For the Prizes!
  I'm celebrating my 2nd Blogiversary (yes, that is a weird word) this month, and I've decided to celebrate it with some great gifts from the very generous people at Workman Press, and Tropical Traditions.  I'm giving away 2 great gifts.
 A Copy of the fabulous cookbook Mangos and Curry Leaves 
 The other prize I have is Organic Coconut Water Vinegar from the nice people at Tropical Traditions.

This vinegar is great and what can I say, a must have for making this amazing Vindaloo!
  So how do you get this stuff???? Here's what to do?

1.) Follow  @WorkmanPub  and  @Troptraditions on Twitter 
2.) Follow @kathygori on Twitter or follow my blog The Colors Of Indian Cooking
3.) Tweet about the sponsor and my giveaway  or mention it on your blog
4.) Let me know you've done so

 The drawing is going to be conducted on Random.org. It starts today July 1st  and ends on July 14th. Thanks again to everyone who helps make this blog possible, especially my husband Alan Berger for his great photographs.  
  Join us and follow along on Twitter @kathygori  


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