Monday, December 5, 2011

Goat: nothing gruff about it

At least in the US and the UK, people still make jokes about eating goat. Or they make faces. Both reactions are based on a fact and on a fallacy: it is true that goat meat has fallen out of favor in most parts of both countries - or was never part of the traditional diet. But it is absolutely untrue that goat flesh is odd-tasting, gamy, stringy and dry compared with lamb. If anything, goat is milder than sheep, and young goat (kid) is certainly far more delicate - far more elegant - than equivalently young lamb. Indeed, some people, once they actually taste it, find it lacking in flavor compared with their usual lamb chops.

Anyway, take a look at this picture, from early summer 2011, and judge for yourself whether this rib-rack of goat (simply cooked in a frying pan, with a sauce made from the bones) looks scarier than any other plate of meat.

Unfortunately, lovely young goat like this is not easy to find unless you have access to a farmers' market vendor that keeps a herd. But what you will be able to find, in ethnic markets of various kinds, is meat from somewhat older beasts. Buy some shoulder, for instance, and substitute goat for lamb in your next stew or curry. If you're planning to feed it to guests, yes, there will be some shock value - but that can be kind of fun, don't you think?

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