Saturday, June 20, 2009

Braised Goat Shanks

First of all, what? You can buy goat meat and cook it and eat it? Well, probably not everyone can. But we are lucky to have a purveyor of fine, young, succulent goat from Marin County.
Second of all, succulent? Isn't goat meat like Charlie Chaplin's boiled shoe? "No, my goats are tender," says their shepherdess (goatherdess?), Julie. And they are.
So just what exactly did I want to do with a couple of sinewy, meaty leg bones? Braise, of course, to coax out all that sticky collagen. And the resulting liquid in the pot is pure gold.
But. I had this sort of chile verde thing in my mind.
So after the initial browning in oil, and about an hour of simmering in a bottle and a half of Pacifico cerveza, I tossed in a chopped melange of tomatillos, mild green Anaheim peppers and some unripe green tomatoes out of the freezer (from when last year's crop finally refused to ripen). A little cumin, diced green garlic, dried Mexican oregano, salt... that's it.
The fantastic juice that leaks out of braised meat went straight into the green stuff. This simmered for maybe another hour, hour and a half. I didn't want to cook the hell out of the green stuff; I wanted natural texture.
And the flavor was insane.
I kept thinking, "Should I add jalapeños? Heat it up a little?" And I kept thinking, "No."
My initial plan was to serve this with dried hominy from a vaunted, legendary, local proprietor of dried beans. After soaking and a little time on the stove, though, it became obvious that the hominy was horribly rancid. I wasn't going to put that on the plate with the beautiful goat verde.
So we got some perfect corn tortillas. Which was cool, because we made impromptu burritos at the table.


J-in-Wales said...

Ooh. Now that really does sound good.
Goat is a fantastic meat if you can get hold of it - the last I bought was 2 year old wether and was still not even remotely like shoe leather.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Goat makes the best (Indian-style) curries, wonderful stuff. Sort of lamb but not.

kudzu said...

Oh -- my -- God. That looks and sounds perfectly balanced and the photo makes it dive-into-this tempting. I've recently enjoyed goat at several local restaurants with differing reactions. At one, it was cooked in a ragu to be served with faultless gnocchi but the tiny bits were juuuuuuust a little gamey and while not tough, certainly chewy. At the other, it was (like yours) braised, but also Italian style, and it was almost creamy it was so tender and very mild. You did it, Cookie! This was a score.

Kel said...

yes, sort of lamb but not. as a dedicated SOLE foodie we eat wild goat thats culled from the hinterlands as it destroys our environment like nothing on earth. Great stuff the wild boar.

Kalyn said...

I haven't had goat but have wanted to try it for a long time. What is making me stop to comment though is your absolute brilliance in freezing green tomatoes at the end of the season. I'm definitely going to do that this year!

cookiecrumb said...

J-in-Wales: It is good, innit? I was wary, but it's so nice. I'm impressed by your 2-year-old, and the fact that you know the term wether. I had to look it up.

Mouse: OK, then. Curry next. Sort of beef-pork, but not. Too. My new meat.

Kudzu: I'm beyond flattered! Thanks for your judgment.
The MSF goat is not gamey, even the nether bits. I have two leftover tubs in the freezer; interested in one?

Kel: Now THAT'S interesting. You have wild goats? We have wild boar, but I'm not entirely sure of the hunting regulations. (Plus, butchering. Ee.)

Kalyn: I wouldn't know how to buy goat meat if it weren't available at our farmers market. Good luck; I hope you get a chance to try it!
The green tomatoes, BTW, were briefly roasted first. But I don't even think you have to do that. But you should eat them cooked.

The Spiteful Chef said...

The first time I ate goat was at a classmate's father's restaurant, Mi Tierra. It's this enormous, incredibly famous, been-on-Food-Network restaurant, and I felt like I would have been a big traitor not to try anything that was gifted to me. The dish was called Cabritos or something like that, with a subtitle that said "tender young goat." While appalled, given my feelings for adorable baby goats, I ate it, and it wasn't bad. I thought it would taste like tin cans, given how terrible I find goat cheese, but it mostly was what I imagine rabbit would taste like. I think it's tender if they kill the baby goats only. Like lamb or veal.

cookiecrumb said...

Spiteful: Tin cans! So very funny.
I'm glad you got to try it. And... bunny meat is even more delicious. I'm like you; I was scared to eat a fluffy pet. But it's so good.

Bill Grogan's goat
Was feeling fine.
Ate two red shirts
From off the line.

Bill took a stick;
Gave him a whack,
And tied him to
The railroad track.

The whistle blew.
The train drew nigh.
Bill Grogan's goat
Was sure to die.

He gave three groans
Of awful pain.
Coughed up the shirts,
And flagged the train!

Sweet Bird said...

I've always wanted to try goat.

Now I'm jealous.

cookiecrumb said...

Sweet Bird: Don't be jealous. Just be on the lookout.

Shelly said...

Goat is so flavorful! When I get a hankering for some I go into the city and get some cheap! I am so glad you are celebrating it!

cookiecrumb said...

Shelly: Much appreciated! I find goat a lot easier on the system than beef. It is so good. I'm glad you have a place to find some. :)