Recipe: Roasted Goat Tacos

Recipe: Roasted Goat Tacos

Last week, when Meat/Un-Meat month was covering lamb, pork and goat, I gave a quick Goat Meat 101 but getting a recipe up was a different matter. It took the better part of the week and weekend to find it, cook it, and serve it, let alone write about it. So here, a bit belated, is my goat taco post.

I bought my 8-pound goat leg from Ottomanelli's in the West Village. Frank, the butcher, cut the leg, bone-in, into 2-3" chunks. The meat was very fresh, although next time I might order it from Elly at Patches of Star Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket, because her goats are more local (Pennsylvania versus Iowa where my goat originated.)

The process is long, but it's easy, you just need to plan ahead. I ordered the leg Wedensday, got it and marinated it on Thursday, cooked it Friday then gave it a second roasting, getting a nice roast-y skin on top for Saturday. We had six friends over, and barely made a dent in the quantity of meat.

The whole leg cost $35, and I estimate it made about twenty servings. This would be a great dish for a big dinner party. The recipe can be adapted with different spices if any of the ones I list are offensive. It can also be served over rice, not as shredded, use your imagination. My first inclination was tacos, but yours could be different. You're cooking goat, have fun with it.

Roasted Goat for Tacos

makes 8-12 cups packed, shredded meat

1 leg of goat (5 to 8 pounds), bone-in
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, smashed with back of a knife
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 strips lemon peel
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except meat and blend with a whisk. Place goat in roasting pan or bowls that will fit in refrigerator and pour marinade over meat, toss to combine, cover, and refrigerate about 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in middle.

Nestle pieces in a hot sauté pan (you might need two depending on quantity of meat) and brown on all sides (this could take 10 minutes), moving around and out to make room for more as needed. cover with foil and move to oven. Roast for 2-3 hours, until meat is falling off the bone (see photo above left)

Remove from oven and let meat cool in its juices until cool enough to handle. Pull meat from bone, discarding bone and fat. Pour liquid through sieve into a fat-separating measuring cup or a tall straight-sided vessel such as a large canning jar. Let sauce sit until fat separates out and floats to the top. (see photo above right)

Meanwhile, start shredding the meat off the bone with your fingers. Pick through the solids in sieve and separate out some of the tomato and garlic bits. Add them to the meat. Discard remaining solids such as bones, chunks of fat and bay leaves.

When fat has separated from meat juices, skim off as much fat as possible and discard. Pour sauce over meat and turn to coat. At this point, meat can be refrigerated again, covered, for 24 hours. When ready to serve, turn meat to coat with sauce and place in a suitable heavy oven-safe dish, covered tightly with foil, and cook until bubbling, about 30 minutes, removing cover for last few minutes to get a crust on the top layer of meat.

Serve goat with warm tortillas, chopped onion, sprigs of cilantro, shaved radishes, sour cream, crumbled cheese such as queso fresco, cotija or a dry goat cheese, grilled green onion, sliced avocados, flame-broiled strips of chile pepper, your favorite salsa, small cubes of pineapple, etc.

(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)

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