"Goat?" my husband asked. "Yup Goat" I responded. "Really? That should be interesting".
That was the focus of our conversation when we decided to join a meat CSA last summer. Not that it was 100% grass-fed meat, or that we'd be getting cuts of meat to try each month that we hadn't cooked with before. No, the focus was goat - goat meat to be exact.
Ask most people in the United States what food they think of when you say "Goat" and I'd be willing to be the response is cheese. But goat meat is actually frequently consumed in the rest of the world.
So, yes, my meat CSA sends us Goat meat. We don't get it every month but over the past year we've had a least four of the monthly shipments contain some goat meat. Now I had eaten goat once before joining the CSA, at a restaurant, so I knew it was something I'd eat, but I'd never cooked with it. Still, I was surprised when I looked on Project Foodie for goat meat recipes and found few.
About the same time I learned that Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough were writing a Goat cookbook. I admit I was very surprised; Goat really doesn't seem like a hot new trend, but I was equally ecstatic that I'd soon have some great goat meat recipes to try.
Karma must be on my side because the week the Goat book arrived my CSA delivered me 4 wonderful goat chops. Since berries were in season the choice was clear "Pan-Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage". The recipe was perfectly detailed and the result married the berries, sauce and goat together perfectly (Oh! and the polenta suggestion was spot-on). I almost can't believe I'm saying this, but the dish turned out so well that I almost can't wait for the next time goat shows up in my CSA box.
Now, for those of you still shaking your head at the thought of eating goat meat (shame on you!), no seriously, no worries. Mark and Bruce knew some would be unsure - that's why the book is actually split into two with some goat meat recipes and the rest of the recipes focusing on goat milk and cheese. And if you've ever read a Mark & Bruce cookbook you already know that every piece of narrative slipped in between the recipes is absolutely wonderful. In fact, if you don't like either goat meat or goat cheese you'll still love just reading this book because they (Mark & Bruce) really are that great…
Pan-Roasted Chops with Blackberries and Sage
Recipe from Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by "Bruce Weinstein, Mark Scarbrough" ("Stewart, Tabori & Chang", 2011)Bruce calls this technique sear-and-shove: Sear the chops in a hot skillet, then shove the skillet into a hot oven. Make sure your skillet is oven safe, preferably cast iron or heavy stainless steel. And with no wooden or plastic handles. I once left a dish towel wrapped around a skillet's handle after I'd shoved the thing into the oven. You know, firemen are the nicest people.
- 1 tablespoon goat butter (or unsalted cow butter, if you must)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 pound goat loin chops or rib chops, each about 1/2 inch thick
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup whole goat milk
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fat, sweet fresh blackberries
- 1 small shallot, minced
- A crunchy baguette
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine or dry vermouth
1. Set the rack in the center of the oven. Fire up the oven to 400F (205C).
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Season the chops with the salt and pepper, then slip them into the skillet. Brown for 2 minutes, shaking the skillet to loosen them up.
3. Turn the chops and shove the skillet into the oven. Roast until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center of one of the chops registers 140F (60C) (Bruce's recommendation) or 145F (63C) (the USDA's), 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Remembering that the skillet is ridiculously hot, remove it from the oven, set it over medium heat again, and transfer the chops to a serving platter or individual serving plates.
5. Stir the minced shallot into the skillet and cook just until soft, probably less than 1 minute. Add the sage and cinnamon; stir until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Now pour in the wine or vermouth. As it boils, scrape up any browned bits in the skillet. The amount of liquid is tiny; it will boil instantly. Work fast.
6. Pour in the milk and drop in the blackberries. Bring to a full boil and cook for 1 minute, or just until somewhat reduced. Check for salt, then ladle this sauce over the chops. Tear the baguette into pieces so that some can accidentally fall into the sauce as you eat the chops.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.