• 16Oct

    Goat StewI’m furloughed. That means I’ve had time to explore recipes that take way longer than my usual 30-minutes-and-done dinner routine, and also to use ingredients I don’t really have any idea how to address. I saw bags of trigo mote verde (peeled green wheat) at the Latin grocery I’d been meaning to check out for some time, and bought it on a whim. When I saw the goat tidbits were on sale, an idea began to form. When I started to ponder what to cook, I noticed that the goat was not … the highest quality … and was going to need major work to taste good. I’m not one to waste food if I can avoid it, so I decided that some spice-fu should do the trick.

    So, inspired by the Spanish labeling on the wheat, I decided to take a Latin direction (heavily informed by my own Caribbean leanings with respect to goat). I started with sofrito:

    • 1 large yellow onion, diced
    • 2 yellow bell peppers, diced
    • 1 head of garlic
    • 2 habanero (scotch bonnet) peppers, finely diced
    • 1 tsp dried cilantro
    • 1 tsp dried basil
    • 1 tbs sesame oil
    • 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes, one drained

    And added the other ingredients along the way:

    • 2 pounds goat meat (boneless, chopped into 1 inch cubes)
    • 1 bag of trigo mote verde (peeled green wheat)
    • About 5 tsp fresh grated ginger
    • A handful of allspice berries
    • 1 tsp each cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 4 cups water
    • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1 pound okra (washed, but NOT CUT*)

    I browned the goat briefly in a large dutch oven, then set it aside.

    Next, I added all the sofrito ingredients except the tomato, and tossed over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Then I added the tomatoes and re-added the goat.

    Once well mixed, I added 3 cups water, trigo mote verde, allspice, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt, and brought it all to a boil. Once boiling, I reduced the heat to simmer and covered the pot, leaving open to let some steam escape. Stirring occasionally, and sometimes tasting to adjust flavor, I let that cook about 30 minutes.

    At this point I added the ginger, vinegar (I didn’t want to cook away all that sharpness), and a bit more water, and re-covered for another 15 minutes or so. At that point, things were looking close to done, so I added the okra and did some final salt/pepper adjustments.

    Another 10-15 minutes saw the okra where I wanted them, nice and al dente as a textural contrast, so I turned off the heat and served my stew. Delicious, with the heat and spice and vinegar pushing the very earthy goat into a lovely flavor profile, and the long cooking keeping it nice and tender.

    This recipe makes what I’d call about 10 servings, so I’ve been taking fun ways to use the leftovers too. My favorite so far: wrapped, dolma-style, in collard greens blanched in lemon juice. Enjoy!!

      – MAW

     

    * Oxygen is what makes okra get all slimy. If you don’t cut it before cooking, the texture is much nicer.

  • 09Oct

    Being furloughed and not really having much in particular to do (but needing to save money!), I’ve been experimenting with African cuisine, particularly soups and stews, and even more particularly rekindling my love of (a) couscous and (b) fufu.

    What follows is my favorite concoction so far, a hybrid recipe using ideas from a few places – mostly from The African Food Joint, Serious Eats, and Leslie Cerier. Being me I couldn’t be bothered to follow any of the recipes exactly, but the result was sufficiently delicious (if not all that authentic), to make it very worth sharing.

    Vegetable StewI used:

    •  2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 Scotch bonnet Pepper, seeded and minced
    • 1 large Yam (the purple kind with white flesh), cubed
    • ½ cup raisins
    • 1 can Garbanzo Beans
    • 4 cups kale, chopped
    • 6 small garlic cloves, finely diced
    • 1 Cinnamon stick
    • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
    • 4 cups Chicken Stock
    • Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste

    What I did:

    •  In a large pot (I used an aluminum stock pot), add the tomatoes, onion, 3 cloves of garlic, and Scotch bonnet and toss with the oil over high heat, just until it starts to get fragrant.
    •  Add 1 cup of stock and bring to a boil for about 2 minutes, then blend using your hand blender.
    •  Add your remaining stock and bring back to a boil, adding your yams and cinnamon stick. Boil on high heat for about 5 minutes. Now lower heat to simmer, cover the pot, and leave for about 15 minutes.
    •  Next, add your chickpeas, up the heat to medium, and taste/adjust heat level using cayenne. Stir in your kale and remaining garlic, cooking a few minutes till the kale is done.
    •  Season with salt, black pepper, and more cayenne if needed.

    The first night I made this, I made fufu as described in the African Food Joint recipe, except I made quenelles out of it which I then fried in butter, because I just got back from France, but it goes well with the more traditional fufu, and couscous too. If I were going to adjust this recipe next time, I’d again call out to my French culinary habits and add in some cream in the second step (the blending), and maybe use a second Scotch bonnet as opposed to extra cayenne. That said, I’m going to happily keep eating this batch till it’s gone!

     – MAW

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