‘When you first say the word goat, people think of some tough, old, curried goat they ate at a food festival – but actually, there’s so much more to it!’ says Jenny Warner, head chef at Cubitt House, who is speaking to me in support of ‘Goatober’, an initiative to get us all eating goat this October – and beyond. The campaign originated in the US in 2010, and launched in the UK last year, with restaurants including HIX, Duck & Waffle and The River Café all getting involved.
But Goatober isn’t just another World Bread Day or National Chocolate Week. Its aim is to get us eating male goats that would otherwise be killed at birth. Warner explains, ‘They’re basically a waste product from the dairy industry. People love goats’ cheese and goats’ milk, but they don’t realise what happens to the male goats.’ Warner’s restaurants are supplied with goat meat by a farm on the Welsh border that buys the male goats from the local goat-rearing farm, ‘so instead of these animals being killed for no reason,’ she adds, ‘they play around on the farm, eat grass, and then they’re slaughtered and sent directly to us.’
Eating goat isn’t just a good deed. Warner flags its nutritional value, noting, ‘It’s considered to have less fat in it than chicken.’ She also adds, ‘It’s important to point out that this is kid goat – it’s only about six months old, so it’s tender all over and really delicious!’
But what do you do with goat, and where do you even buy it? Warner – who’s had goat on the menu for the last two years – shares her top tips…
Treat it like lamb
‘Goat can be cooked in exactly the same way. Whatever recipes you have for lamb, just swap it for goat! The leg is perfect for Sunday roast, and it’s great for slow cooking. You can quickly grill a chop or a cutlet (it doesn’t need to be cooked for hours) and the trimmings are great for burgers and pies. You can use the entire animal and you can eat it all year round.’
No need to use a marinade
‘Goat has a strong, gamey flavour – it’s delicious, and I wouldn’t want to mess around with that. So if you’re cooking it in a pan or grill, just use vegetable oil and Cornish sea salt, or if you buy the whole goat, there’s loads of fat around the kidneys. Chop up the fat and render it – ie. stir it in a pan with a tiny bit of water at the bottom, so it doesn’t caramelise. Then cook the goat in the melted fat, and it will enhance the flavour of the meat. If you have any melted fat left, spread it on homemade bread like dripping – it’s delicious!’
Pair it with full-bodied reds
‘Thomas Cubitt’s sommelier recommends Côtes de Bordeaux, Duc de Nauves, Cháteau Le Puy 2015, a dark berried, full bodied Merlot dominant Bordeaux, which works very well with goat as it complements the meat’s strong flavours. Chianti Rufina, Selvapiana, 2015 is suggested for those who like full flavours with a lighter note.
‘If you’re using goat for the first time, do exactly what you’d do with lamb, then experiment with different things – it’s all down to personal taste. Mint works beautifully with goat, just the same as lamb. If you’re cooking it for Sunday roast, you could have it with roasted beetroot, and braised red cabbage. We served our goat burger with a gooseberry chutney – that was really good. And our goat pie comes with fennel and wholegrain mustard mash, which works really well!’
Buy it online
‘Our restaurants are supplied by Trecorras Farm which sells mixed boxes to private customers, via courier. Cabrito offers a similar service. Both suppliers sell kid goat which is really tender, but if you do buy older goat meat elsewhere, it’s kind of like mutton and the main part needs to be braised rather than roasted – as long as it’s cooked for hours, it will be delicious and juicy.’
Goat recipes can be found at Cabrito and Trecorras Farm. Anyone who can prove their name is Bill, Billy or William will be offered a complimentary glass of Champagne or pint of beer, at any of the Cubitt House restaurants during October
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