Kid Friendly Goat Stew

I've been digging through the deep freeze lately trying to weed out some of the older stuff, and use it up. I was in for another dig yesterday when I discovered a kg bag of goat stewing pieces, and figured I'd try to whip up a stew with them. So I let them thaw in the fridge for a day, and today took them out to start the stew. Note in the recipe below if you are going straight from the freezer then add 10 or 15 minutes to the oven time - but more on that in a bit. First a comment on what makes this "kid friendly". A couple of things really, but mainly the fact that I pureed a number of the ingredients that I knew the boys would balk at if they saw them in there. Namely - the whole 2 cups of carrots, and 2 of the 3 cups of potato. The 3rd cup of potato I diced up really small figuring that they would not balk at small pieces - and my gamble paid off. I did not have any turnip on hand, but I'd have pureed it as well if I did. Another thing which makes this kid friendly is that I meticulously picked through the goat to eliminate the copious bones. Goat bones can be small, and sharp - definitely a hazard for even an older child. Though if you wanted to go for a more authentic Mediterranean feel, you could eliminate that step.

Something I've been doing a lot of lately with meats is roasting them in the oven in my cast iron frying pan, and collecting and saving the juices which result. Though clearly in this case we would use the juices for the stew. In fact, I also dug out some juice I saved the other night from some pan-fried minute steaks, as well as some home canned lamb broth that my wife and I canned up early last year.

Here is what I put in there. As already mentioned, I did not have any turnip or rutabaga on hand, which I would normally put into a stew like this. I also forgot to add a bay leaf but normally would. It was terrific without it. The radish seed was on a bit of a whim - since I had no turnip I figured I'd add something from the family. These are seeds I normally use for sprouting, and when sprouted they are extremely zippy. It is the first time I've used them like this so I was cautious, and as it turned out a little too cautious because the zip really did not come through. It could even be the case that you'd have to sprout them first for that to come through - not sure. But I'll definitely be experimenting in this area in the future - next time around will probably try twice as much, and if that does not work, then try sprouting them. I simply took the seeds and ground them to a powder with my pestle and mortar. A coffee blade grinder may work for this too, or I suppose a pepper mill.

This may seem like a big drawn out process, and it certainly does take a while start to finish, but most of the time is just waiting for stuff to happen, and you can be doing whatever else you like around the house. The total amount of time actually spent cooking is really not that much. This just sort of popped out of my head over the day, and from my perspective did not really take long at all to make.

  • 1 kg stewing goat pieces
  • 3 cups diced potato (1 cup of which finely diced)
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried summer savory
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp radish seed
  • 1 to 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 750ml broth or water. I used 250ml beef broth, and 500ml lamb broth
  • water

Preheat your oven to 425F, and put your meat into a large cast iron skillet, or small dutch oven. Put the skillet into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350F and set your timer for 35 minutes. Or 45 to 50 if your meat is coming right out of the freezer. Meanwhile start cutting up your veggies. When the goat is done in the oven, you toss it into a small maybe 2L pot, and just about cover it with water. Be sure to get as much of the pan scraping as you can too, because there is tonnes of flavour there! They are part of the whole point of roasting it first! Now put the lid on and boil it for an hour. Don't worry if your meat dried out in the oven because it all takes care of itself in the boil. In a convection oven the meat probably will dry out quite a bit like mine did - no biggie.

For the pureed potato and carrots, I first put them into the food processor and buzzed them up as small as they would go. Same for the onions since my boys will balk at onion pieces as well. And the garlic went in with the onions. If you want to get fancy you can caramelize the onions and garlic in a small skillet first, but I just added them directly to my large 5L pot with the potato and carrots that were to be pureed. If I were making this for just me and my wife, I'd leave everything in chunks and would not puree anything.

At this point you'll want that meat after it has been boiled. If you are going to meticulously pick out all the bones and fat like I did, then you need to let it cool first. It cools more quickly if you drain out (and SAVE) the liquid, and put the meat into a colander where the air can get at it. Then just start picking. I keep one bowl for the meat, and another for the scraps of bone and fat that are being thrown away. Actually, since I don't like to waste stuff, I ate most of the fat as I was going along - it was yummy! If there are bigger pieces of bone, be sure to encourage as much marrow out as you can (wooden skewer helps), and make sure that marrow and all its wonderful flavour goes into your stew!

Now add the liquid from the meat, as well as the extra 750ml of broth to the pot with the buzzed up potato, onion, carrots and garlic. But not the extra 1 cup of finely diced potatoes. Bring this mixture to a boil, and if you have a stainless steel hand blender, use it to puree everything. Or if you have a plastic hand blender, puree before turning on the heat. Now boil slowly for 5 or 10 minutes before adding everything else. I also put the rosemary through the pestle and mortar first. Be sure to add your salt a bit at a time and stop when it is just right for you and your family. 1.5 tsp may be too much for you.

Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce heat to about 1, and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring deep and well once or twice during that time. Serve with a piece of whole grain bread either home made, or from a local bakery. My wife and I were both impressed by how eagerly the boys ate it - one gave it one thumbs up, and the other gave it two! But we find that part of introducing new things is socializing them first, so as I was getting ready to serve it I started telling them that we were having something new, but it was made with a meat that was similar to another meat they both love. I encouraged them to guess - and sure enough after a few tries one of them guessed lamb. I then made a point to mention that I made it especially for my youngest because he loves lamb so much, and his brother got to have his favorite breakfast (French Toast) this morning, which caused a bit of a drama with the youngest. Now, the thing is that our youngest does not necessarily love lamb so much, but when I presented it juxtaposed against the drama of breakfast, as a very special thing I was doing just for him to make up for breakfast, he bought it hook, line and sinker :-)