Get Your Goat On
July 16th, 2011 - By Lari Robling
Goat has been called the new bison — a substitute for meat with more saturated fats. In their book, Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese, Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough show us what the rest of the globe already knows — goat is nutritious and delicious.
While culinary trendspotters say goat meat is the next big thing in the states, we are far behind the rest of the globe where it is the most widely consumed meat. Here in Philadelphia at Fork Restaurant, Chef Terrance Feury hosts a series of sustainable meals, goat got its due in a four course special dinner, "People need to open their minds. I like to see it offered on more menus and I'd like to see people cook it at home."
So would Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. They've written the first all goat cookbook called, of course, Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese. But why this sudden interest in goat? Scarbrough says part of it is in the numbers, goat it seems has great nutritional stats. "It's lower in fat than chicken, of course than pork, lamb, beef, it is the lowest fat red meat or mostly mammal or fowl meat that you can find."
So, what if you want to get your goat on at home? Well, depends on the cut and how much time you have, "two ways to cook it either you want to be impatient or patient. If you want impatient you want chops like loin chops and rib chops. You want to sear them fast and shove it in the oven and finish it off with a sauce. Takes about maybe 10 minutes once you get cooking. Otherwise you want to be patient, you want about 2½ to 3 hours in a long braise," says Scarbrough.
And for Chef Feury? "Keep it simple. It doesn’t take a lot. My favorite way to eat almost anything is with pasta. Do a braise in goat milk and toss it some fresh pappardelle but that goes for almost anything with me." Ok, so goat is lean, delicious, and easy to prepare. But what about the cost? Scarbrough says, "the question of expense is a big one. It's more expensive at CSAs and farmer's markets. It is much less expensive in halal markets in some kosher markets and Latin American markets."
Both Scarbrough and Weinstein note that meat is 1/3 of the story. There's milk, "goat milk has about 1/3 less fat than cow milk, and because the fat molecules and the protein molecules are really small it's universally digestible for people who can't have cow milk. Now, not everyone who can't, but some people who can't have cow milk can have goat milk. And even at the zoo animals, mammals, land mammals that won't feed their young, their babies are given goat milk," says Weinstein, and then there's cheese. But if you don't think you like goat cheese with its unmistakable tang, think again says Weinstein, "first thing I say to them is well what have you tried? Well, I tried goat cheese, well that's like saying you don't like cow cheese because you didn't like limburger or you don't like cheddar. There are so many varieties of goat cheese it goes way beyond fresh chèvre. That's what most people have tried is fresh chèvre, and you should try a goat gouda, and a goat cheddar, and a goat camembert, and a goat brie, and an aged crottin, and all these wonderful textures and flavors of goat cheese."
And if meat, milk, and cheese makes goat the wonder animal, there's even more, "these are two angora goats. Angora goats are predominately raised for their fiber, which is mohair. And they are sheared twice a year," that's spinner and knitter Laura DiDonato from Mountain Pride Farm who I met at a local festival. And, she's got one more use! "He did a live nativity scene at Christmas I took him and another goat."