Do you recall the Seco de chivo (or Goat with Green Peppers) that I cooked some while ago? Well, I was talking to Jason at Farmer's Choice via Twitter about the results and how the fattiness of the stewing goat pieces wasn't to my family's taste - although I liked it well enough.
He very kindly arranged to send me a boned leg of kid goat, so that I could try a leaner cut on the menfolk and see what they thought.
The joint arrived and looked fantastic, with light marbling through the meat that said it would be succulent and tasty, without the huge lines of fat that put my menfolk off the whole thing.
I'm really dead keen to use kid goat as and when possible - and it is becoming easier to get hold of and a little bit more affordable than it was. By rights, it should be extremely affordable, so as to avoid the terrible wastage of the boy kid goats that aren't useful to the goat milk trade.
Now this whole thing happened around the time that Yotam Ottolenghi's t.v. programme "Jerusalem" was out on television for the first time. (It's been around again since - yes, that's how long ago this was!). I'm sure you all know my opinion as to just how much of a god Yotam Ottolenghi is to me - and we'd been watching "Jerusalem" alternately salivating like mad and watching with our mouths wide open in astonishment at the ingredients and combinations.
So when the kid goat meat arrived, it seemed right to consult Ottolenghi's genius as to what to do with it.
I recalled seeing a completely amazing Ottolenghi recipe involving young lamb - what we'd term, here in the U.K., as "spring lamb" - and as kid goat can be treated in the same way - in cooking terms - as spring lamb, I didn't look any further.
Now, it has to be said that I was a bit hamstrung where following the recipe to the letter was concerned, as the meat should have been barbecued. We do have a barbecue, but it had been pouring with rain for the last three weeks and seemed set to continue for the next three weeks, so being able to barbecue was unlikely. I do have a griddle pan - and I suspect I could have used that to better effect - but hindsight is a marvellous thing, as is experience. Having done this recipe the once, I would be a bit braver the second time around. However, I was very conscious that I may not get the chance to use kid goat again for a while (it was really very expensive then) and just didn't want to be too robust with it and wind up making it inedible.
I opted to leave the meat in its rolled state and seared the outside using the griddle pan. That gave us a degree of charring effect that added to the flavour - but done again, I'd cut the meat into smaller chunks and just griddle the lot (assuming I didn't have a barbecue available, that is!). Having marinated the goat in garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme and rapeseed oil, you can just imagine the mouthwatering smells that were issuing forth from the griddle pan. Just gorgeous.
Having seared the meat, I then oven roasted it in the same way as you would spring lamb. I opted to go for well done - with no pink in evidence - purely because I knew that son & heir wouldn't be able to eat kid goat if it was at all rare. He was having trouble enough getting his head around the fact that what he had on his plate was a bit of a baby goat, as it was.
Now, I will say - straight away - that my almond & orange blossom sauce was a bit of a disaster. I admit it. However, not in flavour - which was completely and utterly fabulous - but in texture. I used our food processor to grind the cooked almonds - which was where I went wrong. All it seemed to achieve is grinding a certain amount of the almonds into a virtual flour, while the remainder stayed in huge lumps. Not good at all. As a consequence, any liquid was slurped up by the finely ground nuts and the whole thing turned into a beautifully flavoured almond butter type mixture. Nowhere near sauce consistency!
So - if you're considering following this recipe yourself, I recommend that you use a pestle and mortar for grinding your nuts! At least, that way, you can be more in control of what degree of pulverisation you give them.
Now, a special mention has to go to the almonds. Just straight almonds - not blanched - were what I used and the revelation of how they turned out after spending a few minutes in hot oil in a frying pan, was immense. I was very tempted to just eat the lot and pretend I'd dropped them into the sink or something. Try it sometime (not dropping them in the sink - but frying some to nibble on), even if you don't make the recipe. Just heat up a nice oil - olive or rapeseed - and cook some almonds until they're turning golden, then toss them in something nice like sea salt or a combination of herbs and spices. I can imagine that lemon zest and black pepper with the sea salt would be amazing. No, it's not low fat, but yes it is good for you - especially if you use an oil that is low in saturated fat.
So, getting back to the sauce. The alchemy that goes on, just by mixing the few seemingly odd ingredients together, is just stunning. Oh and yes, I use the word "stunning" in the full knowledge of its meaning. I tasted the nuts when they were cooked and they were lovely. Very moreish. I tasted the sauce once I'd added and combined the lemon zest, juice, honey, orange blossom water, salt & pepper and rapeseed oil - to test for seasoning - and it was just incredible, without even having had the fresh herbs included. Once you add the mint and coriander, it just takes you to a hot and dusty atmosphere, with cool shady colonnades beneath big airy villas, the smell of donkey, dust and humanity in the air. How does he do that? So, as I say - stunning.
We all loved the roasted kid goat. It was succulent, the flavour of the marinade serving to accentuate the delicate sweetness and earthiness that is uniquely kid goat. Coupled with the chargrilled red peppers and the almond & orange blossom sauce, this is one of the most jaw droppingly good dishes I've cooked since starting Rhubarb & Ginger. Even with a sauce that had an incorrect consistency!
I served it with a jacket potato dressed with coriander and lime chilli yoghurt, which was amazingly well suited. The only thing I would have added would be some green leaves of one sort or another. Ottolenghi suggest fresh parsley, which I can imagine would be very good indeed.
I would dearly love to have another crack at this one - and I'll be keeping my eye open for kid goat leg, in future!
ROASTED LEG OF KID GOAT WITH ALMOND & ORANGE BLOSSOM SAUCE
1kg piece of boneless kid goat leg
2 long red peppers, cut into quarters and seeds removed
olive or rapeseed oil
sea salt & black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon
45ml lemon juice
one and a half tbsp fresh thyme leaves, woody stems removed
45ml olive or rapeseed oil
50ml olive or rapeseed oil
80g whole almonds
grated zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
half a tbsp of runny honey
quarter of a tbsp of orange blossom water
10g fresh mint, finely chopped
10g fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped.
1. In a large bowl combine all the marinade ingredients and season well. Divide the goat meat into several large pieces and add them to the marinade. Using your hands, massage the marinade into the meat and leave for a minimum of 2 hours, or preferably, overnight.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 220degC/425degF/Gas 7.
3. Whilst the oven is heating up, and for the sauce,
heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a small frying pan and add the almonds. Cook -
stirring often - until the nuts are golden and evenly cooked. Remove
from the heat and allow to cool.
Place the nuts into a pestle and mortar (or any other method of
crushing them that doesn't involve a food processor!) and pulverise them
until they are broken, but not powdery.
5. Decant into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well and taste for seasoning.
6. Heat a griddle pan until blisteringly hot.
7. Drizzle the peppers with a little rapeseed or olive oil and a pinch of salt, then cook on the griddle until charred on all sides and softened. Set aside to cool.
8. Place the goat meat pieces onto the griddle pan (you will probably need to do this in batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan) and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until starting to caramelise. Transfer onto a roasting tray.
9. Place the goat meat into the oven for a minimum of 4-5 minutes, leaving it longer depending on how thick the pieces are and how you like your lamb. (Use lamb as a measure for pinkness. If you like your lamb pink - you'll like your goat pink).
10. Once done, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place, to rest.
11. Add the freshly chopped mint and coriander to the sauce and stir to combine.
12. Slice the goat meat into thick slices and serve with the peppers and the sauce drizzled over the top.