Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese, are quick to tell you that most people's aversion to goat meat stems from curry, more specifically the very goaty sort that's popular in Jamaican takeout joints. But this specific flavor comes from goats that are over the hill, older goats that are raises to take on that gamey, barnyardy flavor. If you're looking for a milder flavor it's best to find young goats that have been raised for meat; ones that are bred for dairy or even wool are notoriously chewy and aren't the best for cooking.
These Goat Skewers with a Vinegary Herb Sauce are best made from leg meat, which according to Weinstein and Scarbrough has a sweeter, more subtle flavor and can be cooked relatively quickly. Prepared kabob style and grilled, these skewers are marinated in a vinegar-based sauce full of bright green herbs, cardamom, and paprika. They showcase the best of what goat can be—bright and fresh tasting with a unique savoriness that you can only get from really great goat.
Adapted from Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. Copyright © 2011. Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
- 1/4 cup (55 g) minced fresh chives or the green bits of a scallion
- 1/4 cup (55 g) stemmed, packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup (55 g) stemmed, packed fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (165 ml) olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds (680 g) goat meat chunks from the leg, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
- 1 teaspoon mild paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 metal kebab skewers
Whir the chives, cilantro, parsley, vinegar, pepper, and salt in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. While the machine is running, pour the olive oil through the open feed tube in a slow dribble to make a light sauce.
No food processor? Mince the chives, cilantro, and parsley on a cutting board, then mash them with the other ingredients in a mortar with a pestle until pasty. Drip in the oil, grinding the mixture into a sauce as the oil is added in dribs and drabs. It won’t be as smooth as that from a food processor, but it’ll do in a pinch.
No food processor, no mortar, no pestle? (Are you sure you wanted to buy a goat cookbook?) You can make this sauce by rocking a knife through the herbs on a cutting board until they’re minced, almost puréed, then adding coarse-grained salt and wiping the side of the knife’s blade across the mess, using the grainy salt to further mash the herbs into a pulp. Scrape all this into a bowl, stir in the vinegar and pepper; then whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
Place half of this herb sauce in a large bowl (reserve the remainder in a separate bowl in the fridge for a garnish). Add the meat cubes, paprika, and cardamom. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
Thread the meat cubes onto the skewers and set them aside at room temperature while you prepare the grill, either heating a gas grill to high heat (about 550°F [288°C]) or building a high-heat coal bed in a charcoal grill. If you don't want to use the grill outside, heat a large, heavy grill pan over medium-high heat until smoking. As the grill is heating up, take the reserved sauce out of the fridge so it comes back to room temperature. You can even nuke it for a few seconds to take the chill off (but don;t get ut too hot or the taste will become too pronounced, almost bitter.)
Set the skewers directly over the heat (or in the grill pan). Grill for 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a cube without touching the skewer registers 160°F (71°C). Serve the skewers with the reserved sauce on the side.