The skinless meat was about $4 a pound, the skin-on a bit cheaper, but I opted for a 1.64 lb. bag of the skinless bone-in goat meat.
I asked the sales clerk, this time a friendly young Ghanaian man, what would be the best way to cook goat. He said first steam the meat then saute and season it and it would be delicious.
But in truth I was thinking more along the lines of a nice stew over brown rice.
Also in truth I was feeling a little insecure about the whole goat meat project.
The truth is, I tend to feel a percentage point or two of insecurity whenever I'm fixing any red meat, even after all the years I've been fixing it. It just seems that there are so many ways a steak or roast or pork chop could go wrong, from undercooked to overcooked to tough to dry to greasy. I definitely feel more on my game with poultry.
But anyway, I brought my goat meat home then headed for the internet.
I perused several online goat stew recipes until I found one that looked simple and promising and could be fixed in the crock pot.
Most of the required ingredients besides the goat meat were familiar and accessible: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, tomato paste, red wine, salt, oil, butter.
But the recipe also called for half a scotch bonnet pepper.
Now, I'd never heard of this kind of pepper before, and being a total spice wimp and therefore having an inborn suspicion of any kind of pepper, I decided to research what a scotch bonnet pepper might be before investing in one.
I came upon a video on how to handle scotch bonnet peppers. It sounded like a warning for the handling of radioactive isotopes. The chef warned to wear gloves when handling the pepper because if the oil gets on your hand it's like "pure fire". He warned to be careful not to breath in the fumes when you cut it, to only use a small strip, in fact he suggested not cutting the pepper at all but just putting it in whole to cook in your stew or ragu then fishing it out when the dish was finished. He warned to to be very careful that it doesn't burst while cooking because this pepper is "very deadly".
Did he mean that metaphorically or literally?, I wondered.
To find out I next wikipedia'd the scotch bonnet pepper and this is what it said:
"Scotch Bonnet...is a variety of chili pepper. Found mainly in the Carribbean islands, it is also in Guyana (where it is called Ball of Fire), the Maldives Islands and West Africa. Most Scotch Bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville Units... For comparison, most Jalapeno peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville Scale."
I think the chef must have been speaking literally.
It's amazing the things we put into our mouths.
Needless to say I decided to forgo the scotch bonnet peppers in my goat stew. It frightens me that such an object even exists in nature.
As it turned out Randy had a Super Bowl gathering to attend but Tommy was excited about trying my interpretation of West African cuisine and volunteered to bring over some hummus and pita bread, which I believe is more germaine to East Africa, but I figured we could have sort of a pan-African food event.
I ended up making a few changes to the online recipe, then I gathered up the ingredients, and on Sunday morning I got to work on my goat stew, which I call:
No Scotch Bonnet Goat Stew
2 medium onions, chopped in large pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
About a pound of baby carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, chopped
About 1 1/2 - 2 pounds bone-in goat meat
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1 beef bullion cube or 1 teaspoon beef bullion powder
Lawry's garlic salt
Combine onions, garlic, carrots and celery a large bowl. Season the meat and vegetables with salt and pepper, and toss meat with the vegetables. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet, and add the meat/vegetable mixture, browning all sides of meats and cooking for a few minutes. Season the mixture with several shakes of the Lawry's garlic salt. Transfer the meat and vegetables to the crock pot.
To the skillet add the tomato paste, wine, water, and beef buillon cube or powder. Heat until the cube or powder dissolves, stir until the tomato paste is smooth, loosening any bits of browned meat on the skillet. Mix with the meat and vegetables in the crock pot. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Though my expectations were guarded after I mixed all the ingredients and turned on the crock pot, after a few hours the house was filled with the most delectable aroma.
I fixed a pot of brown rice and a pan of hot rolls:
Tommy brought the hummus and pita bread:
We scooped the stew over the rice:
Was the No Scotch Bonnet Goat Stew good?