Even during my vegetarian years, I salivated at the thought of ribs. I didn’t really think about the kind of animal when I thought about ribs, but there’s a good chance I was thinking about pork or beef ribs. There’s a fundamental difference between pigs, cows, and goats. The fat of the former two tastes great. Goat fat? Not so tasty. And the trick with ribs is that they’re loaded with fat. That abundance of not-so-scrumptious fat can be dealt with using an ideal method for goat-rib cooking. Unfortunately, this blog post will not reveal the details of that method.
Now, I have eaten really amazing goat ribs, prepared by someone else. The method reportedly involved a spice rub and a long, slow cook in a smoker. I’m guessing a lot of the fat had a chance to ooze out, leaving great-tasting goat meat behind. Maybe I should try that approach sometime. But that’s not what I did in this case.
Hocks (the lower part of the leg) are not inherently the most tender cuts of meat from an animal, goat or otherwise. One of the tricks to cooking one’s way through an entire animal—as I am doing for this “Cooking with kid” series—is learning to use those “lower quality” cuts to yield meals that are every bit as delicious and satisfying as ones made with the fancier pieces. A Filipino-style adobo does just that, yielding a rich garlic-vinegar-pepper-infused meat that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The preparation is great for the tougher cuts from kids, any cut of an old goat, and also for old hens or even stringy old roosters. Adobo is one of Eric’s favorite methods of preparing meat, and the results are always so tasty I tend to think of it as a complicated meal. But now I know: This is an easy preparation that should be in every omnivore’s repertoire.
For my latest “cooking with kid” adventure, I decided to take up smoking. Rather, I started the kid smoking. The goat kid, that is.
We don’t make Indian food as often as we’d like, so for this installment of “Cooking with kid” I decided to address my goals of culinary diversity by tackling koftas (spiced meatballs). Although ground meat has already been featured in Burgers and Tacos, it’s a practical way to use less-than-ideal cuts, and we always enjoy the results. This meal ended up being the most stressful to prepare of the entire series to date, but the end result was nice. Perhaps I’ll tell the full story in a different post, but for now here’s the simple version.
This is the time of year to use meat as a condiment to vegetables. Produce is abundant, but as cooler weather sets in, hearty soups and stews begin to to return to our menu. So, for my most recent “cooking with kid” meal, I decided to use one of Eric’s favorite tricks: add meat to a beloved vegetarian recipe. (By the way, check out our new “Cooking with Kid” index page to learn more about this Joanna-cooks-a-goat project.)
This year, our diverse culinary garlic will primarily be available at World Harvest Foods, an international grocery in south Columbia, near the intersection of Nifong and Providence. Look for the display opposite the cheese counter. We grow a dozen varieties, of which about 5 will be available at any given time; stop by regularly to experience the full diversity! If you are interested in a bulk purchase, please contact us directly and we’ll put together your order for pickup at the store.
2015 varieties and ID codes
Each garlic head sold at World Harvest is labeled with an ID code to help you keep track of varieties at home. The table below relates these codes to the variety and its culinary properties.
|Robust & exciting flavors. Heads structured with cloves arranged around a stiff central stalk; cloves generally large and fairly uniform in size.
||Approx clove count
||A good general-purpose garlic. Hot raw flavor, rich when roasted or cooked.
||A family heirloom from a market customer. Delicious sautéd, spicy hot when raw.
||A really nice roaster, sweet & rich. Intense raw flavor. Big cloves for the garlic lover.
||A delight for lovers of spicy food. Adds a zing to salsa or gazpacho.
|German Extra Hardy
||Excellent for roasting, as the cloves produce a complex sweet flavor under high heat.
||Large cloves are a garlic lover’s delight. Carries some spicy heat raw or roasted.
||Peppery and distinct, both sweet and hot. Medium cloves for all-purpose use.
||A “just-right” general-purpose garlic, with moderate clove size and quantity.
||Robust and rich when cooked, an ideal garlic to feature. Our favorite.
|Classic garlic flavor. Heads structured with layers of cloves, which vary in size within a head but are generally smaller than hardnecks.
||Approx clove count
|Chet’s Italian Red
||Rich flavor when used raw; ideal for dressings and pesto.
||Some zing when raw, but minimal aftertaste. A Slow Food Ark of Taste variety.
||Recommended for all uses. Spiciest of the softnecks. Excellent roasted, sweet & well rounded.
Advice on choosing garlic varieties:
Any garlic variety can be used in any culinary situation calling for garlic. No need to fret, for example, if you bought a variety suggested for roasting if you decide to saute; just use it! Chances are the results will be delicious.
However, matching the right garlic to the right use can yield some spectacular results. Here’s a cheat sheet of some of our favorites:
- Favorite roasters: Georgian Crystal, Tochliavri, German Extra Hardy
- Favorite sauteed: Siberian is a standout, but all are excellent
- Favorite raw, if minimal aftertaste desired: any of the softnecks, but especially Chet’s Italian Red
- Favorite raw, if spicy flavors desired (in salsa, for example): Georgian Fire, Russian Giant
Most importantly, have fun exploring the possibilities!
This installment of “cooking with kid” features American-style comfort food, but with the unusual-in-America comfort of knowing the source of the ground meat down to the name of the animal. That animal is Crystal, the goat kid featured in this learning-to-cook-goat blog series.
Tenderloins are lovely pieces of meat, as tender as the name implies. They are located along the backbone, internal to the body cavity, so you can’t reach around and feel your own like you can loin/backstrap. Removing this cut from the carcass is a bit awkward, and sure enough when butchering the goat kid featured in this cooking series, I managed to put a big knife cut through of one of them. The tenderloins are long and skinny, and those from a kid are on the small side: Crystal’s were about a half pound (including two thin strips, not photographed, that may or may not “officially” be tenderloin). What would I do with smallish pieces of meat, tender and suitable for quick high-heat cooking, with a pretty bad gash though the middle of one? Stir fry seemed a sensible answer.
Loins are the muscles on the sides of the spine. Yes, go ahead, reach around to your back, find your backbone, and feel the muscle on either side. That’s the piece. This is one of the high-end cuts from any mammal. For example, from a pig, it can become a pork chop (if sliced through the bone). In deer, it is often called backstrap. From a goat, we just call it the loin, and in our butchering style, we generally carefully cut it off of the spine, resulting in a nice boneless piece of meat. This a cut that is suitable for quick, high heat cooking. We like to make a point of doing something nice with the loins.
Editor’s note: This was written in late winter, but delayed due to various circumstances. The next post in this series will be a new, current one and hopefully the series stays up to date from now on.
In honor of my German heritage, I decided that sauerbraten should be in my cooking repertoire, as I enjoy it when prepared by Eric. So, in spite of my plan to minimize “meat and potatoes” meals in this series, I decided to embrace and feature that combination…this time. Why? For a culturally complete meal, I wanted to serve the sauerbraten with potato pancakes, another German specialty that I make routinely. Our dwindling storage potato supply suggested that I either make this now or wait until July, the earliest more potatoes could be ready for harvest. Sauerbraten in July doesn’t sound as appealing, so I opted to prioritize this as a nice winter meal.
Although my parents have handwritten recipes for sauerbraten from my grandmother, I simply went for our cookbook shelf and took guidance from the recipe in Mimi Sheraton’s The German Cookbook, our favorite resource for traditional German cooking. I followed the recipe moderately closely, though of course it calls for beef rather than goat. What matters is the braising theme, and the basic components of this technique are quickly becoming familiar: brown the meat, saute some aromatics, add some liquid, put it all together, and slow cook. The twists here are that sauerbraten starts with a specific marinade, and final preparations include making gravy.