The Nasty Bits

Recipes and stories for everything but the oink.

The Nasty Bits: Goat Meat, Part One

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[Photographs: Chichi Wang]

These are bony bits of goat from all around the animal, which is the best kind of stew meat to have at your disposal.

The one thing I always like to say to disarm people who fear goat, is "Betcha didn't know that cashmere comes from goat." Once I say that, it's like the goat floodgates open, and people figure that if it's good enough to wear then it's good enough to eat. Goat is closer in flavor to lamb than mutton, which is to say, the flesh is not as gamey as you might think.

Also, goat is healthy for you. The meat is quite lean, but has enough residual traces of fat to be tender when stewed. (Do not, however, stew goat and expect the tenderness of pork. It is more like beef chuck stew, in terms of its natural resiliency.)

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You can't get more classic than Jamaican goat curry. The one and only time I was in Jamaica (read more about my breakfasts here), I chatted with locals about goat curry. People seemed to agree that you have to burn the curry powder. They all use the stuff out of the jars, and they all advised me to burn the curry powder in oil before putting in the meat.

Did they really mean burn? That's a strong word, so I was careful to get a clarification as to how curry powder that had been burned could be any good to eat, and it was only when I pressed them that they admitted that maybe "burning the curry" was a bit of an exaggeration, that in fact the powder was merely very dark brown. Dark brown, I can live with, since powder that gets soaked in oil and then pan-fried will of course turn many shades darker that it looks in dry form.

Even toasting the curry powder until it is that dark is a matter of taste. I would not say no to a pot of Jamaican goat curry for which the curry powder has only been lightly toasted, but then again, I am after all a mere amateur curry enthusiast.

About the author: Born in Shanghai and raised in New Mexico, Chichi Wang currently resides in Manhattan, where she divides her time between writing, cooking, and tracking down the best noodles in the city. Visit her blog, Mostly Tripe.

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