Monday, 12 March 2018

Don't Let Will Get Your Goat

Among the many childhood experiences that I fondly remember, and to this day am grateful for, is that my parents introduced my siblings and me to a plethora of exotic dishes. When introduced to one such strange new dish, one of my brothers only question was, not the often too typical, "Yuck, I don't like that," but rather, "How do I eat that?" I cannot remember exactly what the dish was, but it obviously was something unique and different enough, that my younger brother's question was quite valid.

I suppose you could say that this past weekend's foodie creation was a tribute to those wonderful childhood cuisine experiences.

The original plan was to make a hearty beef stew on the charcoal grill in my trusty cast iron pot. While in the meat department looking for some beef bones to add to my stewing beef, I discovered some bone-in New Zealand goat. I thought I had won the lottery! Plans quickly changed. Now dinner was going to be a goat stew. I texted the idea to my wife and met no resistance, so I quickly hurried to the nearest checkout with my exotic find.

I was reminded of something my daughter said many years ago on a university trip into an eastern European country. She came back and said that they tried to have all foods at least twice. When I asked why, she said, "First to get over the shock of something different, and the second time to try and learn to appreciate it." Wise words, I thought. How can we rightly say that we don't like something different, unless we first actually try it?

After heating up my charcoal grill, and since I already had beef stewing meat thawed, I decided that my goat stew would also contain beef. Why not?! The goat and the beef were seasoned with some favourite spices and seared a bit on the hot grill before finding their way into the pot. I added some water, potatoes, onions, carrots, parsnips, Crimini mushrooms, garlic powder, black pepper, salt and beef broth. Later I added a little flour in order to thicken up the stew. After pre-soaking it in some water, I then added a couple chunks of rum oak barrel wood directly on top of the hot charcoal to give me the smoke I wanted to enhance my stew with.

One certainly could have made something like it in the kitchen on the stove top, but there's something about slow cooking outdoors over charcoal and smoke that gives food a unique flavour that I defy any indoor kitchen to even come close to.

After a few hours, it came time for the moment of truth; dinner was served. It looked and smelled good enough, but how about taste? We weren't disappointed. Goat certainly has a unique taste all its own that is not easily compared to most of the more common North American fares.

Someone once said in jest something to the effect of, "Everything tastes like chicken that doesn't have a taste of its own." Well, goat definitely doesn't taste like chicken. Perhaps the closest thing I can compare it to is lamb, but even that's not really a fair comparison. Goat tastes like, well, goat.

And if I still have not yet convinced you of this amazing meat, let me just close with this. Often times the best testimony of a meal is someone going for a second helping, as my dear wife did. Maybe the way to a woman's heart really is through a man who likes to cook. Hmm.

Postscript: It is interesting to note that the reheated leftovers on the second day were almost better than the first day. Hmm.

For Further Reading: 28 Health Benefits of Goat Meat
First Goat Picture Credit: Nick Bianco, Flickr Creative Commons
Final Goat Meme Source: Unknown

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