Cabrito Asado

Goats, which offer high quality protein and are low in saturated fats, are now growing in importance in beef-happy North America, Australia, and Europe, as growing interest in ethnic foods, along with concern about cholesterol, gain fans for this slightly tougher but well-flavored alternative.

If you’re interested in preparing a goat, here’s my version of a lovely dish I found in many places in Central Mexico. This recipe is an easy introduction to preparing kid, as it does not require specialized equipment. The taste of baby goat is somewhere between lamb and veal, and is perfectly suited to the big, flavorful sauce in this dish.

Cabrito Asado
(Oven-Roasted Young Goat)

1/2 baby goat, cut into parts (4 large parts—legs, side, breast)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. oregano
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium green peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 jalapeño chilies, seeded, deveined, and chopped (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups of canned, peeled Italian tomatoes with juice (approximately 2-1/2 cans, 14.5 oz. each)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Put the pieces in a large roasting pan and cover (foil works if you don’t have a lidded roaster). Bake meat for two hours, turning and rearranging the pieces after one hour. While meat cooks, prepare the sauce (salsa).

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, green pepper, jalapeños, cumin, pepper, and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are slightly wilted. Add the tomatoes (cut tomatoes in half if they are large) and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with taste with salt and pepper.

When initial two-hours are up, sprinkle the meat with the oregano, then bake uncovered for another 20 minutes.

Finally, pour the salsa over the goat meat and continue baking, uncovered, basting occasionally, for another 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then carve and serve. Serves 10-12.

Notes: Goats get tougher, stringier, and more strongly flavored as they age, so you want to make sure you get a young goat for this dish. It might be okay to stew a slightly older beast, but roasting needs a little tenderness, so be sure you specify baby goat. The recipe above assumes that your half goat will be about 9–11 pounds. If your goat is much smaller than that, you can adjust quantities downward. If it’s much larger, you probably want to stew it, because it will likely be tough. In the U.S., goat does not generally appear in the mainline grocery store meat case, but it can easily be obtained from ethnic grocers (Hispanic, Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Indian in particular), and can also be ordered on the Internet.

Copyright © 2011 Cynthia Clampitt

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Filed under Culture, Food, Health, Nutrition, Recipes, Travel

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