A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Caribbean Curry Goat

I'd never made Caribbean food before. But we picked up some local goat last week at the All-Local Farmers Market and I decided to make curry goat. I made some Jamaican-style cabbage to go with it.

It's a profound thing to produce certain flavors in your kitchen for the first time. I've eaten delicious Caribbean food at restaurants, but it was quite another thing to find out about the building blocks of that food, to put together a recipe that tasted Caribbean but also like something I'd made. And the house smelled good and strange for days.

Caribbean curry powder is somewhat different than Madras curry or the various generic things sold as curry powder. I used some plain curry powder but added habanero, chile powder, and star anise to produce the right flavor.

So here's the recipe I put together after some research and daydreaming. I will make it again. The goat was mild and tender but dark the way duck is dark, with that faint iron tang.

Curry Goat
  • goat -- in this case 1 shank and about 1/2 pound of stew meat. Something with a bone and connective tissue is a good idea.
  • 1-2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon plain chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Rub spices all over the goat and set aside.
  • olive oil or butter for sauteeing
  • 2 medium onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
Brown the meat, being careful not to burn the spices. Remove, and saute the onion, then the garlic.
  • several splashes vermouth, white wine, or beer
  • one star anise pod
  • water to cover
Deglaze the pan with the booze. Add meat and all other ingredients and simmer 1 hour. Remove the star anise if the stew is tasting too anise-y. Add:
  • salt to taste
  • one small fresh habanero, minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
Simmer until shank is tender and falling apart, 1-2 more hours. Correct flavor with lime juice if necessary. Serve over rice.

What will I do when habanero season is over?

Reading cabbage recipes was interesting. I would never have guessed that fresh thyme is such a common ingredient in Caribbean cooking. But it was exactly right. Adapting various recipes, I cut some wedges of fresh green cabbage (maybe 1/3 of a large head), sauteed a clove of garlic in butter, then added fresh thyme, several pinches of salt, the cabbage wedges, and 1/4 cup of water. I covered it and cooked it on low for an hour or so, sort of steaming the cabbage as the water simmered. It was like Southern greens in a way, very soft, but exactly like the delicious cabbage I had as a side dish at a Caribbean place in Charlotte a few weeks ago.


Kris said...

This all sounds delicious. I will especially try the cabbage. It's such a thrifty, underused vegetable.

I'm reminded of a good recipe I made once and then forgot until now: steamed wedges of cabbage topped with a sharp, mustardy cream sauce.

Laura said...

The cabbage sounds delicious - I might pick some up at Public today and give it a try. We are growing cabbage in our garden this fall (some regular old green cabbage and also some pak choy). I'll let you know if it is successful or not!

Laura said...

Oops, I meant Publix. It's been a long week!