A couple of months ago I dared to blend the real and the virtual by inviting some Twitter friends and a producer we're currently working with to get together at our house for an Indian lunch. It's always a reach getting a bunch of people together who've never met each other before, and also meeting face to face people one's never met in RL before. It definitely has a very "Looking For Mr. Goodbar" vibe to it (minus the bar scene and the weird sex.) It's definitely a very 70's move dressed up in 21st century trappings.
Turns out we had a great time. Everyone got along really well. So, not one to ever consider having too much of a good thing, we decided to do it again. Two weeks ago we had another meeting of Twitter and RL friends all of them involved in some aspect with food and wine. Once again, the only man ever to enter our door sight unseen, Charlie aka @bayareaglutton,
and his friend Poppy.
Gary Saperstein of Out In The Vineyard
The lovely Erin aka @endivechronicle and Mixmaster Phil aka @FoodAperture of Mutineer Magazine shown here consulting with Leo McCloskey of Enologix
When we first hosted one of these lunches it started out as a Twitter dare from Charlie about cooking some goat. The first time I did this we didn't serve goat, but 2nd time around was the charm. I'd found a great source of local goat at Carniceria Chapala and the game was on.
The afternoon started off with The Howl cocktail mixed by Phil.
With everyone in a festive mood, we moved to the table.The lunch was built around the main dish of Moghul Goat with Turnips. For the record, this recipe works equally well using lamb. So if this is one you might want to try and you find yourself goatless, it's not a problem. Go lamb. This is a great make-ahead dish, one less thing to worry about on the day you'll be eating it. I love stuff like that.
I cooked this dish long and slow in a clay pot the day before and stashed it in the fridge overnight. The next day I skimmed any cold fat off the top and then slowly rewarmed it before serving it.This recipe serves 4 people (I doubled it to serve 9 easily).
Goat With Turnips
What you'll need:
2 and 1/2 lbs of goat or lamb leg. Ask the butcher to cut it in slices, as the dish has far more depth of flavor when the meat is cooked on the bone. Trim off any big extra chunks of fat before cooking.
A 2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger
2 green chilies (I use serrano)
4 Tbs of vegetable oil
2 real bay leaves . (Okay, so what's a real bay leaf? I'm talking about Bay Laurel Leaves, for the best flavor not California bay leaves. They're easy to find at any market)
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder aka (1/2 tsp cayenne mixed with 1/2 tsp of paprika)
2 Tbs ground coriander
2 Tbs cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs plain yogurt
1 Tbs salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 lb baby turnips or big ones cut in halves or quarters
I just loved those turnips. I went down the road to the Red Barn Store at Oak Hill Farm and found perfect fresh small turnips. They've got great sustainably grown organic produce and if you're up in Wine Country, drop by. You won't be disappointed.
Here's What To Do:
Put the onions, shallots, ginger and chilies in a food processor and whir them into a paste.
In a large kadhai, casserole or (clay) pot, heat the 4 Tbs of oil.
When the oil is hot toss in the onion paste and the 2 bay leaves.
Cook the onion paste over a high heat for about 5 minutes then turn the heat down and cook it for another 2 minutes.
Make sure the onion mixture doesn't get too dark.
Add the meat.
The best way to do this is to add it a bit at a time, making sure the meat is browned on all sides and coated with the onion paste .
When the meat looks lightly browned, add in :
the chili powder
Stir it all together and mix it in well.
Cook everything for about 2 minutes and then add in
the tomato paste
Cook for another minute or two and toss in the salt and pepper.
Pour in 2 cups of water a bit at a time mixing it together well so that it's all absorbed.
Stir it in well until you have a nice thick sauce. Put a lid on things and simmer it all together on a medium low heat for a couple of hours. You cannot overcook this. As long as the heat is low, keep it simmering. This is what happens every time I cook one of these dishes!
"It's not freaking getting tender!! It's hard as a rock! The meat will never get tender!!!!!! This is going to suck so bad! I can't serve this to people!"
And then magically....it hits the event horizon or the turning point or the Heisenberg dilemma or whatever, but suddenly the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender. Really. That is what happens. I swear. Now maybe it's because I cook in clay, but I like to cook this stuff a bit longer at a lower temperature. I put it on the stove and sit down and watch a movie or whatever, check on it every once in a while to give it a stir and make sure nothing is sticking. I recommend cooking this the day before so there is totally no pressure, and any freaking out over the tenderness of the meat may be done in private.
About the chilies and heat. I always check the flavors as a curry like this is cooking. If you notice that it's going to be too hot for you or whoever is going to be eating it, it can be cooled down by adding in more yogurt a bit at a time. Always be careful to thoroughly stir in the yogurt when you add it to avoid curdling.
The final steps involve the turnips. Peel them and if they're large, cut them in halves or in quarters. If they're small they can be added to the dish whole. Add the turnips for the last hour of cooking and simmer them until both th emeat and the turnips are soft and ready to be served.
Of course there was Twitter activity and photos at the table.
We had a wolf waiting for anything that might hit the floor.
I've never been to any of the events that my fellow food bloggers have attended, and so this mix it up with the virtual and the real worked out just fine for the second time. And if as they say, the 3rd times the charm, for sure we'll be doing this again.
Coming up next, an easy dessert traditionally reserved for weddings. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori