Let's hear it for ... goat

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Goat meat has been marginalised in the past, however, now’s the time to re-look at this meat that’s low in cholesterol & extremely tender when cooked well. Michael Smith received rave reviews for his goat dish in the Great British Menu. Tolani discovered his inspiration for the dish & gives great tips and serving suggestions for goat.

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Photo of Goat Tagine by conjunction3

Long term eater- novice cooker, goat has forever been in my top five meat recipes.Surprisingly the most popular meat in the world with 75-80% of it being consumed globally, goat by-products previously harboured quite a hippy image; goats milk, yoghurt or cheese – all additionally favoured by those with intolerance to cow’s milk. Recent years have seen it enter the mainstream from being stocked at your local health store or supermarket, to finding centre stage in dishes on the bustling up-scale restaurant scene.

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Where to buy quality goat meat

The meat sold in consumer markets largely comes from domesticated goats and is often called Mutton or Chevon (the popular French term) when an adult is used or kid when it’s a junior. The most common goat enjoyed for consumption worldwide are Boer goats which originate from South Africa and are generally considered to have the best carcass shape, taste and texture. Another breed is Kiko or “fainting” goats from New Zealand.

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So where do you get the best goat meat? We spoke to Chef Michael Smith, competitor on the Great British Menu, whose goat tagine dish helped knock out his rivals in Scotland & go through to the finals .

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I always make a conscious effort to use local produce, however after some online research I found out that there were no goat farms on Skye or in all of Scotland. Eventually I found some information on Cockerham Farm in Lancaster where Sharon and Chris have been breeding Boer Goats which is used for its prime cuts as opposed to the old milking goats that are used for curries and other similar dishes.

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On his decision to use goat for his winning dish, Michael reveals Ironically, the inspiration originated from the brief. It was an interpretation in the charitable sense of Comic relief and their initial provision of aid to Africa. I chose goat because I’ve never used it before and nor have any chefs on Great British Menu, so I saw it as an interesting challenge.”

Cockerham Boer farms (on twitter @Cockerhamgoats), is one of the UK’s longest established pedigree goat herders. Co-owner Sharon Peacock recommends ordering around 3 to 4 weeks in advance. With customer satisfaction also high on their list of priorities they have a lot of repeat customers but always welcome new ones. Sometimes the wait is shorter, sometimes a little longer but always worthwhile.

How to Cook Goat?

Even with its popularity, many domestic consumers have been quick to marginalise goat meat, believing it to be tough and perhaps overpowering in flavour. However, unbeknownst to most, it contains less cholesterol than beef, pork or lamb and is both cheaper and leaner.

Goat also has less saturated fat than chicken and is higher in iron and protein, proving it’s a fantastic substitute to many of the major meat cuts. Sections of the goat also have different attributes such as the legs, which are very lean and forgiving to anyone keeping a close eye on their weight or diet. The shoulders tend to have a bit more fat which in turn helps to keep them really sweet and tender, making it a really popular choice

So what has taken so long for goat to hit the limelight in the UK?

“Knowledge of goat meat is very limited, with many preconceived ideas, most of which are wildly inaccurate when referring to quality goat meat,” says Sharon Peacock, of Cockerham Boers.

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Interest in goat meat has been increasing gradually all the time we have been producing, which is 13 years, however it is gaining pace. Goat meat has had several high profile exposures, each of which reinforces the good aspects of quality goat meat. Demand has always outstripped British supply however British Boer goat production is growing rapidly, meaning producers are working hard to increase and develop the availability of quality goat meat, but this is a long term project.

Most goats kid seasonally in spring as do sheep. The animals are still young and tender but the flavour has had time to develop whilst the animals are growing slowly out at grass which is imperative for their diet and required to keep them fit, healthy and tasty.”

Goat can be prepared in a manner of ways, including being fried, grilled, barbecued, stewed, baked, curried or minced and because of its lean attributes it requires less heat during cooking benefiting from the slow-cooking approach to preserve its moisture and tenderness.

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A staple in dishes ranging from Asia, South America, Africa and the Caribbean, cuisines can vary from Jamaican Curry goat to a Mexican Barbacoa de Cordero and the traditional Nigerian Goat Stew with Rice and Fried Plantain or speciality Okinawan gourmet dish Yagi-sashi, which is served with balls of sushi rice and a dash of wasabi.

“One of our favourite dishes is braised goat breast,” says Sharon Peacock. “We don’t really follow recipes but make it up as we go along. If you follow a few basic rules, quality goat is fairly forgiving and you can put all your favourite things with it. Simple guidelines can be given for roast cooking times as are available for other meats. Cockerham Goats recommends 35 mins per 500g plus 35 mins at gas 3 or 170. So a 1.2 kg leg would take 119 mins (2 Hrs)

What Goat goes with?


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Photo by cherrylet

Though traditionally paired with ingredients from all-spice through to chillies and coconut milk when cooked in stews or curries, other meat seasonings work just as well. Serving accompaniments which are sure to equate to a hearty meal are; potatoes of all varieties, fragrant rice with black eyed beans, flatbreads, mixed salads, couscous with cranberries or lemon and olive oil sautéed roast vegetables .

Given the unexpected 15-minutes of fame horses have had of late, the resurgence of goat meat couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Inspired? Try Michael Smith’s winning recipe - “I like kids but couldn’t eat a whole one” as seen on the Great British Menu.  How do you feel about goat? Have you ever cooked it yourself? What have you eaten it with?  Let us know here or on Great British Chefs Facebook page

 

Comments

Drsbwilkinson
I recently visited a favourite restaurant of mine, Los caracoles in Barcelona. On a side street half way down las ramblas on the left hand side. They recommended the roast leg of kid. It was heavenly, well worth the visit to try this dish. Hopefully it wll become more popular in the uk and easier to obtain
21 February 2013
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