It has been four years of blogging, with my first post uploaded on June 12, 2010. I had hoped to have my 200th blog post coincide with the time, but I’ll be off by about a month or so.
For the fourth year blog anniversary, the menu item will be, um, Goats and Greens. I mean, why not celebrate the fourth year in style? I’d hoped to pick up kale for the green part of this, both to match my header image and to celebrate its strong nutritional values. But I overshot the supermarket, and the local Mom ‘n’ Pop didn’t carry it, so without backtracking… Spinach.
(For the 200th post, I have something different planned, a probably boring venture through life and food over those 200 posts. Basically, how I came to what I perceive as healthy eating.)
This goat came from Blue Slope Farm, out of Franklin, CT. I have never been to Franklin, and I think of it as a sleepy, bucolic and relaxing corner somewhere in this state.
Generally speaking, goat is much less fatty than lamb. To me, it has a taste somewhere between lamb and beef. Goats thrive in areas not suitable for the raising of cattle, or for that matter, for a lot of the vegetation we eat. Goat is an unusual animal for consumption in America, but across the world, it is justifiably quite popular. They’re small, and most breeds are very hardy. In conversations with an Indian co-worker, I learned that back in her home country, it was goat she ate, and she had to convert her ruminant course of choice to lamb in this country.
If you are going to rear them up yourselves, however, note they are SMART animals, and they don’t herd up like sheep do. They may look like sheep, but they ain’t. I’ve heard it said that herding goats is like herding cats. Some breeds are apparently better (ie, easier to maintain) on farms than others.
To prepare and marinate (Dinner, not the livestock):
* 1.25 lbs goat chops (rib chops in this case; shoulder chops should be fine. For rib chops, this quantity results in 4 chops. You could try loin chops, but if they are anything like lamb loin chops, you’ll need to take a loan out on your first-born, and I lack a first-born.) The bones will be in. (NOTE to SELF: Reserve bones after for bone broth)
* 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy tamari)
* 1/4-1/3 of one large lemon (judge by size. My lemon was a monster.)
* Salt and pepper to taste. Since this is a celebratory meal for me, my salt was most definitely pink Himalayan salt, and the pepper was that Rainbow Pepper that Trader Joe’s sells in that handy little grinder.
Lay out the meat. If your goat comes from a less-than-optimal source, CAFO or something, cut off more of any fat than I did in the photo. Seriously, though, it is a crime to cut off ALL the fat from a grass-fed animal and then lather it in oil, even olive oil. Put the coconut aminos/tamari and the juice from that lemon portion over the meat. And the salt and pepper. Marinate for about an hour or so. (In case you are worried, when the dish is served, you don’t have to eat any fat — it just helps preserve flavor and essence.)
Cook the goat chops:
- The above
- 1.5 teaspoon ghee, butter, or avocado oil (or other preferred oil)
- 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seed (or, combine cumin seed half and half with Kala Jeera seed, another variety of cumin)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- minced garlic, 2-3 cloves (or, cheat and use garlic powder…)
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Heat up a skillet to medium high, add the ghee/butter/or other oil, wait a couple minutes. Your best bet is to use an oven-proof skillet — save yourself a pan to clean!
Add the cumin/Kala Jeera seeds and allow them to toast a bit, moving them around in the skillet. About 2-3 minutes.
Add the marinated meat, top with nutmeg. Allow to brown 2-3 minutes each side, then add garlic.
Remove skillet from stove top, to oven. Cook 15-20 minutes (this is assuming the meat is about 3/4 inches thick on average).
* 1 bag fresh spinach
On the stove top heat up enough water to cook the above spinach in a pot. Go to high and reduce when the water starts to boil.
Add spinach to the pot of boiling water about 3 minutes before the goat is done, and reduce heat to medium. Cook spinach long enough to wilt it, but not so long as to make a sorry morass of bleah out of it (unless that’s your preferred spinach consistency…) If you choose, add a dash of salt here.
Pull the goat out of the oven, let rest five minutes. Drain the spinach.
Plate the spinach — 1/4 of the lot of it per goat chop works nicely, assuming you are using the rib chop-sized pieces. Depending on any other sides, this serves 2 to 4 people, but I’d seriously only expect two people (each getting two chops apiece).