Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Goat Tagine

My big fella is away for a couple of weeks, rafting the Clarence River in the South Island. He and his best hunting buddies have gone on a meat gathering trip and will bring home thar, chamois, goat, pork and venison; it will be a feast of wild deliciousness and my taste buds are tingling with excitement!

Goat TagineBecause I cook so much wild meat, I have a collection of recipes that I make over and again, with simple variations to keep it interesting. While Dave is away I am playing around with some new ideas, using the children and our houseguest from Hong Kong  as my taste-testers; no one is complaining.

Today I am using goat ( you can use mutton if you have no access to goat meat); but use goat if you can - it is so good!

Until recent times we had a healthy population of wild goats around the country. Somewhere along the way DOC decided there were too many and so they employed cullers to go into the bush and wipe out the population. While I have no real issue with that, I do find it annoying that all that meat went to waste as the cullers just left the goats where they were shot. On numerous occasions I have contacted some of the cullers and asked them to give me the GPS co-ordinates of where they were working so I could go and pick up the animals, but no one has ever let me know. 

This year there was a news report showing that the cost per head to eradicate goats has averaged out to be well over $100 per head;  tens of thousands of goats have been culled and we have paid for that to happen – and no one got to eat them. That seems to wrong to me and perhaps it is time we had a look at how we manage pest species in New Zealand.

Anyway, I digress, sorry about that. Back to the yumminess that is goat. Goat meat is not dissimilar to lamb, only it has more flavour. An older goat needs to be treated like mutton and a younger one, cook as you would spring lamb. There are some who say you can’t eat a billy – to them I say “cinnamon”; a touch of cinnamon in your cooking will take the game flavour away. Which brings me to tagine.

The traditional tagine pot is formed entirely of a natural clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. This means no loss of flavour. Tagines can be cooked in an oven or on a stove top.

Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x

Goat Tagine
2 tbsp oil
1.5kg goat shoulder (mutton is ok. Have your butcher cut the bone short).
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp
 ground fenugreek
1/2 tsp
 cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 c
ups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp honey
fresh parsley to garnish

1. Heat the oil in a tagine or lidded casserole dish over med-high heat until shimmering, then add the goat shoulder. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side, lowering the heat as needed to prevent burning. Set the shoulder aside, reduce the heat to medium, and add the chopped onion. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the garlic, ground seasonings, and saffron. Sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds, then stir in the chicken broth and add the bay leaves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Once everything is combined, add in the goat, bone-side down; bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat on low. Simmer for 2 hours, then flip the goat over and simmer for 1 more hour.
2. During the final hour of cooking, make your makfoul. In a large frying pan, warm the olive oil on med-low heat for a minute, then add the sliced onion. Sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Continue to sauté the onion and tomato until caramelized, stirring every 5 minutes. It’ll take a while, don’t rush it – I would expect it to take at least 45 minutes. Once it has caramelized to the texture you see below, stir in 1 tbsp of honey and reduce the heat to low to stay warm while you put the rest of the meal together.

3. When the goat is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, remove it from the tagine and set it on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. As the shoulder rests, remove the bay leaves cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick from the tagine; raise the tagine’s heat to medium and gently reduce the liquid by 1/3 to help concentrate the flavours, then return the heat to low. Once the goat has rested, remove the bones and cut up the meat into bite-sized pieces. Return the goat meat to the tagine, add salt to taste, and serve. When plating the curry, add a spoonful of the makfoul on top and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with rice or couscous (for something different, add a little saffron to your rice or couscous. It adds an interesting colour and flavour).

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