Curried Goat Is the Most Comforting Recipe I Know

published Aug 23, 2022
Kitchn Love Letters
Curried Goat with Rice & Cabbage Salad Recipe

This flavorful curried goat is a celebratory and comforting Jamaican dish with special family memories.

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Credit: Dan de Jesus
Curried goat with rice and cabbage salad

Cooking and gathering over a pot of curried goat is still an important tradition in my family. Curried goat is a celebratory dish in Jamaica and is always expected at every large gathering. For my family, it was even more special because of the attachment and love we had for the animals. Just like many other families in rural Jamaica, my grandfather raised his own goats and the family would make this dish especially during the Christmas season.

At one point, we had more than 20 goats — all children of our first goat “sister.” This mother goat was actually brought into our family as my sister. I was the first and only grandchild, and my grandmother thought it would be nice for us to grow up together. She bought the baby goat who she dubbed “sister” and from her offspring, we had endless curried goat dishes for more than a decade. 

My grandfather was in charge of the goats and my cousins and I loved to tag along when he took them out to pasture. He brought them to feed every morning and brought them back home every night. The entire herd would stay together as though they knew they were a family. And at the end of the year when it was time for a male to be chosen for slaughter, the herd was always sent away. We used all parts of the animal to not only make curried goat but to also make soup. We also shared the meat with other families in the village and stored the rest to have throughout the year. 

Credit: Dan de Jesus
Curried goat in Dutch oven

It’s still one of the most comforting dishes for me to make and eat. It brings back fond memories of my grandparents — especially my grandmother’s keen instructions about cooking this the right way. It’s no secret that the dish can ONLY be made with Jamaican curry powder along with fresh aromatics like green onions, garlic, and lots of fresh thyme.

The meat tenderizes for more than an hour and the flavors are lifted and brightened with allspice berries and Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers. I took it for granted that I was eating humanely raised, grass-fed meat and I sometimes long for the wholeness and simplicity of my childhood. Keeping this recipe alive and sharing it now is what legacy means to me. 

Curried Goat with Rice & Cabbage Salad Recipe

This flavorful curried goat is a celebratory and comforting Jamaican dish with special family memories.

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the curried goat:

  • 1

    onion

  • 5

    scallions

  • 2

    scotch bonnet peppers, divided

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3 pounds

    goat meat

  • 10

    fresh thyme sprigs, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    plus 1 teaspoon Jamaican cury powder, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    all-purpose seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon

    paprika

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    cold-pressed coconut oil

  • 2

    medium Russet potatoes

  • 1

    bouillon cube

  • 1 tablespoon

    Spur Tree Scotch Bonnet Sauce, optional

  • Cooked rice, for serving

For the cabbage salad:

  • 1

    small green cabbage

  • 1

    green or yellow bell pepper

  • 1

    small cucumber

  • 1

    carrot

  • 2 tablespoons

    white vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    olive oil, optional

  • 8

    to 10 cherry tomatoes or 1 plum tomato

Instructions

  1. Prepare the following and set aside. Finely chop 1 onion, 5 scallions and 1 scotch bonnet pepper. Mince 2 cloves garlic.

  2. Chop 3 pounds goat meat into large chunks. Trim and discard excess fat from goat meat. Rinse meat with fresh cold water and drain. Add to a large bowl.

  3. To the same large bowl, add 1/2 of the chopped onion, 1/2 of the scallions, the scotch bonnet pepper, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder, 1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Using disposable gloves, massage the seasonings into the meat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

  4. Before cooking, let the meat sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder and stir until incorporated. Cook until slightly brown and fragrant, about 30 seconds.

  6. Add the seasoned goat and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid to let the goat sweat. After 2 to 3 minutes, uncover the pot and stir the meat. Once the excess moisture cooks off and the meat starts to stick to the pot, add just enough water to almost cover the meat. (Never completely cover the meat with water.) Cook until the meat is just tender, 1 to 1 hour 30 minutes, adding more water as needed.

  7. While the meat is cooking, make the cabbage salad. Prepare the following and add to a medium bowl: Using a knife or mandolin, shred 1 small green cabbage (about 2 cups). Deseed and finely chop 1 yellow pepper until you have 1/4 cup. Peel 1 small cucumber, rotating the cucumber and leaving some skin to make it look striped, and thinly slice. Using the large holes of box grater, shred 1 large carrot (about 1/2 cup).

  8. Place 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon olive oil if using. Pour the dressing over the salad and use a fork to combine.

  9. Cut 8 to 10 cherry tomatoes in half or chop 1 large plum tomato (about 1 cup) and place on top of salad. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  10. Finish the curried goat. If there is a layer of oil above the gravy of the stew, scoop it out and discard it. Peel and dice 2 medium Russet potatoes and add to the pot. Add the remaining onion, scallions, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper, 1 bouillon cube, and 1 tablespoon scotch bonnet sauce. Taste and add more curry powder if needed.

  11. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve with cooked rice and cabbage salad.