Birria

We.  Are.  So.  BUSY.

To illustrate, we now have 30 pints of green beans, 30 pints of chicken stock, 15 pints of bread and butter pickles and 15 pints of garlic dill pickles in our basement.  Another 30 pints of green beans will follow, along with beef stock, pickled beets, pumpkin, butternut squash, tomato sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce.  We’ll also vacuum pack and freeze as many other fruits and vegetables as we can get our hands on before the season is over.

It’s all great fun, to say nothing of gratifying, but we’re pooped.

Yesterday was Day 6 of the Whole30 – I ate breakfast!!  Beloved told me the other day, “You’re sure making this sound like a diet, skipping breakfast all the time…”  What can I say?  I’m rarely hungry in the morning.  However, you tend to eat when your husband shoves a plate of food in front of you, so breakfast was 2 eggs scrambled in coconut oil, one of the little zucchini fritters leftover from Sunday and about half a cup of cubed cantaloupe.

When we got home for lunch yesterday, we realized we had no leftovers so we quickly thawed some locally-caught fish we had lurking in the freezer – mostly perch, with a couple of small pieces of bass.  I gave it an egg wash, then dredged it in a combination of almond and tapioca flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne, and pan-fried it in a little non-hydrogenated palm oil shortening.  We ate it with some spicy mayo (homemade mayo mixed with just a touch of hot sauce and apple cider vinegar), pan-roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, sliced tomato and fresh watermelon.

After work, we ran The Young One to his new driver’s ed class (my wallet is shuddering at the very thought), then we ran out to the local community pool and swam laps for about 20 minutes.  At home, we canned the 15 jars of garlic dill pickles and had this for dinner (thank goodness I’d had the foresight to think of the crock pot in the morning before we went to work).

Birria is a spicy Mexican meat stew usually made with goat meat and often served at special occasions, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day, and birthday partys.  Originally from Jalisco, it is one of those dishes that differs from region to region, and even cook to cook.  It is traditionally served with corn tortillas, which I – naturally – skipped, and instead opted for avocado and diced tomatoes.

Was it good?  Well, Beloved went back for seconds, and the only reason he didn’t eat another serving is because we ran out of avocado.

Yup.  It was good.  (Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients, because it was dead simple, too.)

Note:  This is almost the last of Pete the Goat; we only have a couple of chops and one rack of him left.  If you’re not fortunate to have two small legs of goat (we’d already eaten his shanks) in your freezer, a 3 pound pork roast or 3 pounds of skinless, bone-in chicken thighs would work just as well (lamb is also common in authentic birria).  I also realize that not everyone can be at home halfway through the cooking time to add the kale, so if you have to, add it at the beginning.  It’s a pretty hearty green and should hold up well to the long cooking, but since that’s not what I did, I can make no promise about the outcome.

Birria
Birria
Birria
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 pounds goat leg, with bone
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers seeded and minced
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the kale, avocado and diced tomato in a large crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Stir the kale into the stew, cover again and cook for an additional 4 hours.
  2. Remove the leg bone(s) from the stew, and using two forks, shred the meat; stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
  3. Divide between six bowls; top with sliced avocado and diced tomatoes and serve.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 400 calories, 11.7g total fat, 131.7mg cholesterol, 673.8mg sodium, 1713.4mg potassium, 21g carbohydrates, 5.9g fiber, 5.6g sugar, 53.2g protein

 

Braised Goat Shank Stew

Happy Monday, y’all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

I finally got around to making more of Pete the Goat.  There’s not much of him left, I’m afraid – a couple of chops, another rack, a leg and his liver.  That’s all.  I imagine I’ll make more of him before too much longer, though, because this recipe reminded me just how delicious he is.  I’d like to get another goat this fall; maybe even two.

This dish was made with his hind shanks, if I’m not mistaken.  The hind shanks are the part of the leg just above (and below) the knee of his back legs; apparently the leg is the same as a leg of lamb – his, er, backside, plus the upper part of his thigh.  The shanks are a rather tough cut of meat with a lot of connective tissue, so braising seems to be the most common method of cooking it.  I had no problem with that, and as a result the meat was meltingly tender and extremely flavorful.

Despite the fact that goat is classified as red meat and has a reputation as being “gamey”, Pete has a pretty mild flavor, so I used lard to brown it and homemade chicken stock as the braising liquid.  It was a good choice; I think beef stock and bolder seasonings would have overpowered the dish.  I also used what vegetables I had on hand – a Japanese sweet potato, some young carrots and some white Russian kale we’d picked up at the farmer’s market the week before.  I imagine any vegetables and greens that take well to slow cooking would do well in this stew.

If you can’t find goat, or just can’t imagine eating it, chicken thighs would work really well in this, but cut the braising time down by about half.  (Now that I think about it, this would probably be pretty good with rabbit, too.  Hmmm…)

Braised Goat Shank Stew
Braised Goat Shank Stew
Braised Goat Shank Stew
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 2 goat shanks (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons lard or other cooking fat
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 – 5 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 ounces young carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
Instructions
  1. Melt the lard in a pot large enough to hold both shanks over medium-high heat. Season the goat with salt and pepper, and cook in the lard until golden brown on all sides. Add the onion and cook for another minute or two.
  2. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves and basil to the pot with the goat shanks; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  3. Braise the goat for 3 hours, or until tender and the liquid in the pot has reduced by about half. Remove the shanks from the liquid and pull off of the bones, discarding the bones and any skin or cartilage.
  4. Return the goat meat to the pot; add the potato, carrots and kale. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Taste; season as needed with salt and pepper, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 453 calories, 17g total fat, 103.9mg cholesterol, 651.8mg sodium, 1650.5mg potassium, 31.4g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 7.3g sugar, 44.5g protein

 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Ah, yes – what my friend Irish Gumbo calls “gork balls” are making another reappearance.  I’ve come to just love the combination of ground goat and ground pork for meatballs; they are just so unbelievably moist and tender.

This recipe came about because I was seriously craving some good ol’ Americanized Chinese food – sweet and sour something seemed to fit the bill just fine.  I didn’t want to go to all the trouble of battering and frying that something, though, so meatballs sounded like a good idea.  And if I was going to make meatballs, I might as well make my favorites, right?

The sauce was another matter all together; most recipes for a good red sweet and sour sauce are just loaded with brown sugar and commercial ketchup.  It took a little thinking, but it occurred to me that the glaze from my Sweet and Sour Meatloaf could be tweaked.  And I was right; this is as good as any Chinese takeout, and if you prepare the sauce while the meatballs are baking, it doesn’t take any longer than ordering Chinese takeout.

Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients; this really is as easy as it is tasty – I served it over sauteed baby bok choy and it was just wonderful.  If you don’t have the ground goat and/or pork, ground beef will work, or ground turkey if you prefer something lighter.

This also reheated very well the next day.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground goat
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or clarified butter
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup [url src=”http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=12704″]Ketchup[/url]
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground goat, ground pork, grated onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes with your hands until well mixed. Form into 30 meatballs, and place on a wire baking rack. Place the baking rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, or they are just cooked through. Remove from
  3. oven, cover and keep warm.
  4. Heat the ghee in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers, carrot and onion to the pan and cook,
  5. tossing them in the ghee, for about 3 minutes, or just until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in the pineapple, tomato sauce, coconut sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar and mustard; simmer for another 5 minutes.
  6. Whisk the tapioca starch into the water; stir it into the sauce in the pan. Continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute more. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  7. Add the meatballs to the sauce; stir to coat. Serve over riced cauliflower, steamed rice, or sauteed bok choy.
  8. Nutrition (per serving): 410 calories, 20.4g total fat, 102.9mg cholesterol, 984.4mg sodium, 1025.2mg potassium, 24.6g carbohydrates, 3.2g fiber, 16g sugar, 30.7g protein.

 

Moroccan Goat Stew

It’s Monday, y’all, which means it’s time for

One of these days I’m going to find the time to hunt down the code so you can cut and paste this thing.  In the meantime, let’s link up our Real Food Recipes!

I’m a bit bummed out this Monday morning – I was nominated for Best Food Photography Blog of 2012 at TheKitchn.com’s 2012 The Homies awards and I didn’t even know it.  Which means that people who read my blog didn’t know it and I only got 2 votes.  Rats.  However, Nom Nom Paleo is one of the finalists – she’s in second place, in fact – so head on over and show her your support by voting for her.  Her photos are gorgeous, her recipes delicious and her sons are just too flippin’ cute.  And she’s a sweetheart who deserves our votes!

At any rate, for today’s Make Ahead Monday I broke out the goat again – we had a pound of stew meat that was, if I’m not mistaken, one of Pete’s shoulders.  I was going to make goat chili, but then I ran across a recipe for Moroccan Goat Stew and I knew I just HAD to make it.

And I am so glad I did.  This was just delicious and was fairly easy, too.  I can’t wait to have some of the leftovers today, because we could tell it was one of those things that was just going to taste even better the next day, which is why I’ve included instructions for when to refrigerate it in the cooking process so you can, well, make it ahead.

The stew was incredibly rich, and really benefited from the brightness of the fresh greens, so I wouldn’t leave them off.  You could also use any winter squash you like; the original called for pumpkin.  And while the dish is rich, it’s not spicy in a hot sense so you could also finish it with a bit of sambal oelek chili paste for a nice kick.

If you can’t find goat, beef will work well, as would skinless, bone-in chicken thighs.

Moroccan Goat Stew
Moroccan Goat Stew
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 pound goat stew meat, cut in 1″ cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 ounce dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • pinch saffron
  • 2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • Spice Mixture
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • Garnish
  • 1 cup baby arugula or other young spring green
  • 1 cup cubed roasted butternut squash
Instructions
  1. Melt the ghee in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the onion until soft and transparent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the spices for the spice mixture in a medium bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Toss the goat in the mixture until well-coated. Add the goat and garlic to the Dutch oven with the onions; increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the goat is browned.
  3. Stir the tomatoes, cinnamon stick, apricots, saffron and chicken stock into the Dutch oven with the spiced goat. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and the goat becomes fork tender, about another half hour. At this point, the stew can be refrigerated and reheated later.
  4. Divide the stew between four bowls and top with the greens and roasted squash. Serve immediately.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 335 calories, 10.8g total fat, 83.5mg cholesterol, 1034.4mg sodium, 1423.9mg potassium, 33.5g carbohydrates, 8.9g fiber, 12.9g sugar, 30g protein.

PLEASE – post recipes with whole, real food ingredients only. Dairy, sprouted grains and legumes and natural sweeteners are allowed, but recipes containing processed or refined ingredients or vegetable oils will be removed.  Don’t forget to link back to this post! Thanks for your cooperation.

Italian-Style Meatloaf

It’s February 2, and traditionally I take this day as an opportunity to threaten Punxsutawney Phil with death bitch about winter, but not this year.  No, this year La Nina has been my friend, blessing us with an exceptionally mild winter (my apologies to all of my Alaskan and European readers, who are experiencing the worst winter in 40 years, but it just works that way sometimes).  I actually have hope that I will make it through what is usually my worst month, at least since moving to Ohio, without crying jags and sedation.

Oh, I kid.

Sort of.

At any rate, since I have no beef (so to speak) with the weather – so far – I have a delicious meatloaf recipe for you.  If you’ve been reading here for any length of time at all, you know that Beloved and The Young One are meatloaf junkies; you also know that I’m kind of lukewarm about Italian food.

I am, however, not lukewarm about this meatloaf, which had both The Young One and The G Man quite happily eating spinach – and Jolly eating goat, even if she didn’t know it. 😛  (I’m loving the ground goat, if you haven’t noticed.)  This is one of those dishes that Beloved and I will argue over who gets the leftovers for lunch today, we all enjoyed it so much.

You don’t have to use ground goat, of course – you can substitute it with any ground meat you like.  Same goes for the ground pork, but I encourage you to use the pound of hot Italian sausage (use turkey sausage if you do not eat pork).  And the marinara is also a must; I suppose you can use a jarred sauce if you want, but why?  It is super simple to make, as my friend Gretchen (who is an excellent cook) will tell you – in fact, it is her recipe I used.

And it is delicious.

Which is saying something, coming from me.

Note: I used a sheep’s milk pecorino romano cheese for this dish, but any hard Italian cheese would work well.

Italian-Style Meatloaf
Italian-Style Meatloaf
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground goat
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups spinach, finely chopped (measure before chopping)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 2 cups [url href=”http://secondblooming.typepad.com/second-blooming/2012/01/make-ahead-monday-turkey-artichoke-spinach-stuffed-shells.html” target=”_blank”]Marinara sauce[/url]
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place a wire baking rack over a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl thoroughly, but gently, combine all ingredients except the marinara sauce using your hands. Carefully form two loaves on the wire baking rack.
  3. Bake for about an hour, or until the internal temperature of the meat loaves reaches 150 F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. Serve with the marinara sauce.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 405 calories, 29g total fat, 142mg cholesterol, 1216.6mg sodium, 727.9mg potassium, 5.5g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 3.5g sugar, 29.5g protein.