Got my goat
By Tom // Posted 26 July, 2009 in: Food + Drink
Last week, Martha came home with exciting stories and delicious bresaola from a butcher shop she found in Linden Hills: Clancey’s Meats and Fish. I had read about the shop on the Heavy Table, but had yet to go. Intrigued, I wanted to check it out. On Saturday after the farmers’ market we biked there. My plan was to buy some fatty pork for carnitas to go with the tomatillos, corn and tomatoes we got from the market, but when I got there there was some goat staring me in the eye, calling my name. Apart from the fact that they actually have goat, the best part about Clancey’s is that from the cuts offered in their cases, it’s clear that they’ve butchered whole animals themselves. The goat’s various parts were all in evidence and arranged together. Think of the supermarket butcher: 50 ribeyes from 50 cows. Although I have never made goat before, as soon as I saw this leg roast all my thoughts of pork went out the window.
The staff of Clancey’s suggested that I cook the goat as I would lamb, although better to braise it than to roast it medium-rare, which is my lamb-preference. I couldn’t really shake my carnitas idea, so goat carnitas it was. I was kind of surprised that Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking contained not a single recipe for goat since I assumed for some reason that goat was popular in Mexico. None of my other cookbooks were much help either, so I decided to wing it. I rubbed the roast down in a vaguely Mexican way (cumin, oregano, chile powder, black pepper, salt) and seared it. In went orange juice, lime juice, garlic and onions and then the pot into a 250° oven for a long, slow cook.
Of course, these goat carnitas were going to require some delicious fixins, and luckily the farmers’ market was able to provide. I used the most beautiful tomatillos of my life to make a salsa verde (with cilantro, garlic, onion and some lime juice). Martha used the first sweet corn and tomatoes of the season with cilantro, lime juice and green onions to make a corn salsa.
After three hours in the oven, the goat was tender but not falling apart. I pulled it to shreds with two forks. At this point I became a little concerned as I was hit with a smell that can only be described as “goaty.” Tasting the meat was reassuring; it was a bit like lamb and a bit like beef, with a deep flavor and very tender texture. I tossed it with a little of the salsa verde for color.
Maybe a taco is not the best way to appreciate the flavor of goat, but it’s not a bad way to eat goat. In fact, the acid of the salsas and sour cream cut through some of the meat’s earthiness. By the end of my third taco, my eyes were craving a fourth and my stomach was saying “no!” As usual, the eyes won out.