Cooks from Latin America to Africa to India adore goat, which is similar in texture to lamb but leaner, with a sweet, gamey taste. Now the meat is finding its way into more California kitchens as a growing number of goat farms open throughout the state. Bob and Terri Blanchard of Old Creek Ranch, in the Central Coast town of Cayucos, began selling their splendid goat meat to home cooks just a year ago (oldcreekranch.net). David Myers likes to match roasted leg of goat with tart lime pickle, an Indian condiment made with lime, oil, salt and crushed spices. It's a little bit like a citrusy, sour chutney.
More Indian Recipes
1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stems and inner ribs discarded
1/2 cup lime pickle (see Note)
One 6-pound leg of goat, boned and butterflied
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes (4 cups)
2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 400°. Fill a large, deep skillet with 1 inch of salted water and bring to a boil. Add the Swiss chard leaves and cook just until wilted. Drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze the leaves dry and coarsely chop them.
In a mini food processor, coarsely puree the lime pickle. Set the meat on a work surface, boned side up, and season with salt and pepper. Spread the lime pickle over the meat and spread the chopped chard on top. Roll the meat into a roast and tie it at 1-inch intervals using kitchen string; season with salt and pepper.
In a large enameled cast-iron baking dish or heavy roasting pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the roast and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer the goat to the oven and roast for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 130°. Let the goat rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large, flameproof baking dish, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook over moderate heat until the skins just begin to blister, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the tomatoes to the oven and roast for 5 minutes, just until softened. Sprinkle with the shredded basil. Snip the strings from the goat and slice the roast. Pour the pan juices into a heatproof cup and spoon off the fat. Serve the goat with the tomatoes; pass the jus on the side.
Lime pickle is a tangy Indian condiment. Look for it at Indian markets or at indiaplaza.com.
When you travel inland from Old Creek Ranch in Cayucos, you'll hit the acres of vineyards in the hills around Paso Robles, a great source for ripe, berry-flavored Zinfandelsa perfect red for this formidable roast goat.
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