goat. it's what's for dinner.

When it was time to load up our beloved goat, Cici, Ivar was devastated. Cici was more of a pet than a barnyard animal, and all of our hearts were so, so sad.

It was a few weeks later that Rory got the first bag of ground goat out of the deep freeze and asked me to make something out of it. And I'll tell you what. Never in all my days did I think I'd ever be googling recipes for ground goat.

But here's the craziest thing. Before we were married I remember watching a cooking show. Which unto itself is amazing, because I have watched soooo many cooking shows in my life. So many. So, so many. But I remember one in particular of a man in his condo and he was making goat meatballs. He was explaining that goat is the most consumed protein on the planet, just not in America. And he was urging his PBS viewers not to knock it until they tried it.

And somehow, this guy, in his apartment kitchen, cooking goat meatballs, carried me through this first attempt at my newest life skill: cooking with goat meat.

I found a recipe that had me caramelize onions and add a whole lot of thyme and salt and pepper. And then to cool that mixture before adding it to the meat, eggs, bread crumbs and...cream cheese. I added some Worcestershire and all-spice, because those two ingredients have never let me down before. And then I got out my cast-iron skillet, browned these babies on all sides, stuck them in the oven to finish them off and waited for the moment of truth.

The kids came to the table. We were all a little sullen. We knew the meal that was coming our way. Like, we actually knew it. Had known it. And here it was.

Rory was getting everyone's drinks and I was wondering if this was too much for Ivar...if he should be let off the hook with a peanut butter and jelly. I got up to get something and then I heard Rory, "Elsie. Stop eating. You have to wait for all of us to sit down." And she said something about how good her meatball was. As she stuffed another in her mouth I scolded, "no no! We are going to try it all together." And before we were done praying she had eaten three meatballs. So we said our thanks to God for this meal. And then we each took a bite.

And we started to chew very slowly and look around the table.

Because these meatballs were incredible. Like, the best we have ever had.

I kept saying, "what in the world..." and Rory kept laughing, "this is ours! why have we never heard goat is good before? we have our own meat!"

And Ivar, with a huge smile looked at me and said, "Thumbs up, Cici."

Thumbs up, Cici. My favorite line, probably ever.

So now we are cooking with goat. I don't imagine anyone out there will likely begin purchasing goat meat. But in the event that you, too, find yourself looking up goat recipes I want to share the two we have had so far that are positively the best meat we have ever had. Plus, I will need to reference these again and again, so here they are on my handy blog.

Also, you could totally make either of these with beef. Goat is just a very lean meat, so there are added steps to keep the meat from drying out.

St. Goat Balls of A Cici
Caramelize the following in olive oil and butter
2 med onions chopped fine
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp salt
dash of red pepper flakes

1 1/2 lbs ground goat
2 eggs
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 brick of cream cheese, added very last, and mixed in as small little chunks

Mix and brown the meat balls in a cast iron skillet on two sides. Finish in 400 degree oven.
**This recipe required no gravy, no ketchup for the kids or bbq sauce. It was so, so good.

Goat Strogonoff 
This is my own recipe. And I don't cook with measures much anymore. I thank all the hours I logged on PBS on Saturday afternoons for teaching me how to cook. :)
goat stew meat
minced garlic
dried onions (fresh would be great too!)
pepper and salt
olive oil
liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

Combine all of this in a bowl
Heat cast iron skillet until hot, add oil and then brown meat on all sides
Put meat in crock pot with beef broth and slow cook 4-5 hours
30 minutes before serving add Worcestershire sauce.

Cook Egg noodles, cover in butter and grated Parmesan cheese
Remove meat from crock pot and make gravy out of juices.

This was CRAZY delicious.

I want to write this for my own self reflection...

We are absolutely positive that this meat tastes happy. I know that sounds loony. But it does taste happy. A few years ago when we began roasting our own chickens I had a really hard time eating them. I often told people, "I like anonymous meat...meat I never knew before..." But I have had a complete change of heart, and I am the most surprised.

You know what is a terrible thought now? Not having ANY IDEA where my meat came from. We've all seen a glimpse of a documentary or flown over cattle operations or seen pictures so terrible and inhumane it seems other-worldly. I'm thinking of chicken operations where birds are stuffed next to each other in cages, never to ever see the light of day. Or cattle yards where cows stand in mud and manure, are fed grain, and never get a piece of fresh grass in their life.

I used to have an indifference to where my meat came from. There are so many things you can get upset about anymore. Leave my hamburgers alone. But I'm not so indifferent any more. And in a crazy twist, I actually am glad we knew our goat, named it, loved it, gave it one very happy life and that we are eating that happy meat. Now I want to know my meat from birth to butcher. And I would like to know the butcher too.

Anyway, I never saw this coming. But here we are. Thumbs up, Cici.


Nancy Holte said...

I just checked to see how many WW points ground goat has. No surprise, it wasn't there. So, from here on out I'm going to consider them a free food. Now, to find myself a goat. Mind you, I'm still skeptical, but I trust you.

Diane Wallace said...

I just had to read this to my husband (minus the recipes). Ivar’s comment was priceless! We have no access to goat here, but I will keep that recipe to try with beef. Thank you for sharing.