February 9: Chevon and Cabrito
Though widely consumed throughout the world, goat meat is still a local novelty. It is quickly gaining in popularity, and a growing number of local farms now produce chevon (from adult animals) and cabrito (from young animals). Goat meat is exceptionally lean, so it lends itself well to being cooked with a moist heat. One bite of goat curry will make you a convert: sauté onions, garlic, ginger and curry powder in a pressure cooker or Dutch oven, add meat and a quart jar of tomatoes, and roast until tender.
Sources of Chevon and Cabrito
A list of local farms selling chevon or cabrito is here. Farms producing chevon or cabrito are at the Greenfield, Hampden and Amherst winter farmers’ markets – call ahead for availability. A handful of local farms, including Gray Dog’s Farm, also offer meat CSA’s with goat meat.
Recipes and Cooking Information
Goat meat is far lower in fat than other common meats (e.g. beef, pork, chicken, lamb), in addition to being higher in iron and protein. Its leanness requires special care while cooking. Marinating is helpful to keep the meat moist, as is cooking at lower temperatures, stewing, or braising with added liquid like white wine. Whether you are roasting, braising, stewing or frying, be sure the cooking vessel stays covered and has at least a thin layer of liquid covering the bottom at all times, so as to retain moisture during cooking.
For added goat curry inspiration, here is a recipe from Copperhead Farm in Hadley. Using a pressure cooker, as the recipe suggests, is a great way to speed cooking time and keep the meat moist and tender. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or other heavy stew pot will work fine as well – just cook for longer at a lower temperature.
Note on pressure cookers – if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you should consider getting one! They are easy to use, versatile, and a great way to reduce energy use, which makes them the perfect complement to local eating. Roughly a quarter the energy consumption in our food system, after all, occurs at the household level.