Last fall, my husband went hunting for deer last fall and came home with a goat. Don’t ask. He butchered it, wrapped it, and stuck it in the freezer. I’ve never cooked goat and didn’t quite know what to do with it, so there it has stayed, in the freezer, ’til I finally took out a packaged labeled shoulder roast yesterday to thaw.
So tonight, we ate goat. I riffed on a recipe for lamb shank korma from Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjbi. Happily for my daughter, it involves fried onions, which she recently discovered she LOVES. I was frying sliced onion in a bit of bacon fat a few mornings ago, before adding some chard for our breakfast vegetable saute, when she surprised me utterly by asking if she could have some. Why, sure! She slurped down a small bowlful and asked for more. And she’s asked me to fry onions for her every day since. It’s apparently not the bacon fat, either, as she loved them fried in ghee, too.
Anyway, back to the goat. Korma is from the Hindu word for braise and typically refers to a curry made with braised meat in a sauce of stock, yogurt or cream. Korma often includes ground seeds or nuts or coconut milk. To braise is to first brown food (usually meat, but also vegetables) in dry heat, then finish cooking in low, moist heat, on the stove, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. It is an essential technique for cooking tough cuts of meat, such as the shoulder roast in this dish. The browning enhances the flavor of the final dish, while the long simmer gently melts the connective tissues in the meat, making it fork tender.
3-4 tablespoons ghee
2 onions, sliced
1/2 cup crispy almonds or cashews
2 pounds goat shoulder roast, cubed (lamb or beef would be fine, too)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam marsala powder
1/2 teaspoon mace powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups beef broth (or goat broth if you have it)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup yogurt
Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, turn the heat down to medium, and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are medium brown. I find I need to turn down the heat slightly during the process. It pays to be patient here and really let the onions brown, but not burn. Add the nuts and continue frying until the onions are deep brown.
Remove onions and almonds from the pan and set aside to cool. Using an immersion blender, food processor or other blender, purée the onions and nuts.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high and melt another tablespoon or two of ghee. When the pan is hot again, add the cubed goat meat. Do not crowd the meat in the pan as that will steam rather than brown it. Brown the meat in batches instead. Leave the meat undisturbed for 2-3 minutes, so that it gets a good sear.
When it releases easily from the pan, it is ready to turn.
Brown on two sides, then add the coriander, garam marsala, mace, cardamom, and cayenne to the meat and warm for a minute or two, until they’re quite fragrant. Add the broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the bay, ginger, garlic, salt, and onion-nut mixture. Add the yogurt and stir until it is fully incorporated into the sauce. Bring to a very gentle simmer–the yogurt may curdle if the sauce boils–and cook until the meat is tender, about two hours. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and Fragrant Cauliflower (recipe below).
Fragrant Cauliflower is a riff on another recipe from Great Curries of India, Fragrant Rice, which is how I typically prepared rice to go with curries. I like to mash the cauliflower until it is just broken up into smaller, rice-like bits.
1 head cauliflower
3-4 threads saffron
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cardamom powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons yogurt
Steam cauliflower until it is soft. Gently mash and add saffron, cloves, cardamom powder, salt and yogurt, stir.
Real Food Weekly