Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goats Are 90% Connective Tissue

[Belated post]

The title says it all. Today was focused on a trip to town to find something that I could cook for myself provided I had some of the essential ingredients. I stopped by the store which I mentioned in an earlier post, the body-less goat post. The owner was not there but he had left instructions for his father to make sure that I bought some goat meat from him. I knew that I was going to need some protein in the meal for the evening, so I agreed that I would get a few slices of the front leg portion that was on the chopping block.

Before leaving though I was informed that I ought to visit another butcher shop just down the dirt road to see more cuts of meat. Why not. I like meat. So I walked with the man to the shop of flies and body parts and perused for a few minutes. My guide made a point to distinguish which was the cow section which was his specialty. I kind of noticed which section belonged to the cows by all the cow pieces spread across the table. Including, you guessed it right on the money, a cow's head ready to be bought. The mouth was facing the wrong way, but you could definitely see the resemblance to a bovine structure.

Off again to the bungalow for a bungalow-cooked meal of my very own. I made an approximation to what is considered a Ghanaian stew without the flavoring or taste of a Ghanaian stew and added in the goat hunks. Nice and brown on the outside, seems to be cooked on the inside... excellent. The rice was ready and I figured I would be in for a treat with my three little morsels sitting atop the pile of actually decent rice.

First bite: nothing came off the bone. Second bite: my fingers slipped and I had to fetch the bugger off the plate again. Third bite: brute force applied to my fingers grasping two ends and a severe gnashing of incisors gives me the first quarter teaspoon of meat.

And on it went. For three hunks of meat I didn't get much in the way of food. It would seem that goat probably needs some slow cooking, simmering for hours may be ideal, and then you ought to be cooking the hind quarters or some other meaty part, not the front legs. I have learned my lesson. Next time beef, which for some reason is one cedi cheaper per pound than my goat meat. Who knew?


K said...

Oh man! I'm guessing the kind of meat you'll be buying is closer to free range than the feed-lot we're used to here in the states. That means long and low is your friend: cook meat for a long period over a low setting to dissolve the connective tissues and cartilage. You'll eventually get the super tender meat, but it will take a long while.

D.Boyer said...

You have that right K. The animals here walk everywhere so when they are done leading the free-range life, off to the butchers they walk. I can't get a low heat from the burners I am using but a wise gastronomical lover such as yourself suggested the double-boiler technique. Very smart. To be honest though, I don't like the taste of goat meat all that much. That and the skin of the goat is not good eats. :O)

Anonymous said...

No question, Dave, goat meat has to be cook slowly for a long time. I love it as it tastes much like lamb and mutton. We use it in stews from time to time picking it up at some of the international stores we have here in DC. The best I ever had was in Montego Bay, Jamaica....a curried goat stew!! It is fabulous. If you can get your hands on some curry and cumin and some coconut milk.....yummy!!!