San Diego goat makes a tasty meal (yes, even you could make this at home)

{Warning: Graphic photos of raw goat meat contained in this article}  We don’t try to recreate Grandma’s perfect holiday feast for our family festivities.  We’re certainly not opposed to eating a traditional American feast, but we often just go with something we really like for a meal because we like it, not because it’s tradition.  My youngest brother, who appreciates a diversity of foods, was game for something different this last December.  I didn’t start out determined to cook goat.  After all, where do you find good goat meat in suburban San Diego?  Turns out, you can buy it at a butcher less than three miles from my house.

I like to explore the offerings at the innumerable “ethnic” grocery stores in this wildly diverse city.  You can read about one of those experiences in an earlier post here.  For example, you can buy a pound of some prepackaged fancy grain at Whole Foods, or you can scoop it out of the bin for a third of the price at the Middle East market on El Cajon Blvd.  Those “fancy”, non-gluten grains are a staple in many parts of the world and nothing new to the palates of the people who shop at those stores on a regular basis.  Same goes for goat, which is commonly eaten throughout the world.  When I saw the quality of the meat, I imagined it was raised in California under humane conditions and fed real goat food, whatever that is.  The goat I had eaten in Africa growing up generally consumed whatever it could find – cans, slop, the leaves or our sampling avocado trees. It was very tough to chew and chew and chew.  Basically, at some point you just had to swallow and hope for the best.  I knew this California goat would be different.  And when I told our three-year-old we were going to eat goat, she was excited.  And why wouldn’t she be?

One of our favorite Indian dishes is a pureed spinach (saag) usually containing paneer cheese, chicken or lamb.  I often make it with chicken, but this Christmas goat was going to be the main feature.  I read somewhere that goat can be substituted for lamb, so with my trusty lamb saag recipe in hand and my brother to photographically record our efforts, I went to work.  Honestly, it’s not a difficult dish to make and our family loves it.  The texture and flavor of the curried spinach is one my girls enjoyed from the time they began eating solids.  And the goat?  Because I asked the butcher to chop it into small pieces, it was all ready to toss in the pot.  I barely had to touch the raw stuff. And it tasted worlds different (and better) than an African goat raised on trash.

The spices, which I grind a few times in a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavors.
The spices, which I grind a few times in a mortar and pestle to bring out the flavors.

 

Add chopped garlic and grind some more.
Add chopped garlic and grind some more.

 

The goat, rubbed with the garlic and spices before browning in the pot.
The goat, rubbed with the garlic and spices before browning in the pot.

 

Using an immersion blender to blend the chopped spinach into a creamy, smooth texture.
Using an immersion blender to blend the chopped spinach into a creamy, smooth texture.

 

The simmered and cooked goat just after I put the burner on low and added the yogurt.
The simmered and cooked goat just after I put the burner on low and added the yogurt.

 

Mix everything together and set on low until ready to eat.  The longer you wait, the more time the flavors have to permeate the dish.  I like to put it in the crockpot until we're ready to eat.
Mix everything together and set on low until ready to eat. The longer you wait, the more time the flavors have to permeate the dish. I like to put it in the crockpot until we’re ready to eat.

 

Best served with chapatis or naan!
Best served with chapatis or naan!

Goat and Spinach Curry

1-2lbs diced goat

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger OR powdered ginger

2 cloves crushed garlic

Two 250gram packages frozen chopped spinach

4 Tablespoons butter

1/2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp garam masala (a mix of spices that can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores)

2 cardamoms, peeled and lightly crushed OR 1 tsp cardamom powder

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup plain yoghurt

1 Tablespoon almond meal (I have made it without almond meal before when I did not have it on hand, but it certainly improves the flavor when it is included)

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup cream (I often omit the cream just to decrease the fat, the flavor is still excellent, just not as rich)

1.  Cut meat into cubes and season with the ginger and garlic.  Let set for at least 20 minutes.

2.  Barely cover meat with water and simmer for 30 minutes.  (If using chicken, skip this step and let the meat continue to set with the ginger and garlic).

3.  Put spinach in deep pan and put on medium heat until thawed.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning.  Puree with immersion blender or place in food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.

4.  Remove meat from water and set the water aside for later use.  (If using chicken, follow meat instructions that follow).  Brown the meat in a pan with the butter.  Put heat on low and add the remaining spices and yogurt, stirring until yogurt is absorbed.

5.  Add the spinach, almond meal, nutmeg and about 3/4 cups of the reserved lamb broth.  Cook with lid on for another 10 minutes.  OR transfer to crock pot on low for up to 3 hours.

6.  Stir in the cream and allow the sauce to reheat immediately before serving.  Serve with chapatis, naan, rice or your favorite carb staple.

One thought on “San Diego goat makes a tasty meal (yes, even you could make this at home)

  1. You’re making me hungry! I should mention that if you cook that African goat in a pressure cooker for an hour it will be as tender as the San Diego variety.

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