To celebrate being in the Brixton Bugle and endorsing traditional printed media, I’ve gone for a slow unhurried recipe for you. Summer has failed to show its face properly and it’s hard to know what to eat. It’s not quite salad weather, but it’s definitely not stodge season either, so keep a foot in both camps of warm and wet with this summery stew. Long slow cooking turns the goat tender and tasty and requires little effort. You can either buy the preserved lemons or if you plan ahead, make them yourself!
Goat with Preserved Lemon Tagine: serves 4 (with carbs on the side)
- 1 kg goat shoulder, cubed
- juice of two fresh lemons
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 anchovy fillet, chopped
- pinch saffron threads or 1/2 tsp tumeric for colour
- scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- handful black olives
- 2 preserved lemons
- 350ml water
Preserved lemons can be bought in good delis or supermarkets (Belazu makes them) or you can make them yourself very easily. You’ll need:
- 7 lemons (I’ve specified 7 as the stall under the bridge on Pope’s Road sells 7 for a quid)
- 250g sea salt
- mixed peppercorns
- juice of 7 lemons
- large sterilised glass jar
Sterilise your jar in the oven. Cut the lemons into quarters part way through so they are still attached at the base and then rub salt into each, using about a tablespoon per lemon, putting each one into the jar as you go. Once your jar is filled with salt sprinkled lemons, add in your peppercorns and then add as much lemon juice as you need to completely submerge the lemons. Leave for at least 3 weeks. The preserved lemons will keep for several months and you can dip in when you need them. They are delicious in a roast chicken or a spicy soup or the goat tagine below.
Start by marinading your goat in the fresh lemon juice. Just slosh it over the meat, leave for up to an hour and then drain off before cooking. Get the tagine underway finely dicing your onions and sweating in a bit of oil. Add the chopped garlic and the flesh of the 2 preserved lemons. This should pull away from the peels easily. Just chop it roughly and add to the alliums. When it all melts down into a thick paste, add in the ground ginger, the anchovy and the saffron (which should have been soaked in a teaspoon or two of boiling water first) and then put in the goat.
I usually buy my goat from the butchers next to the Wing Tai on Electric Avenue. I like them for the cuts of meat that traditional British butchers don’t usually stock, although Dombeys in Market Row sometimes have it too. Ask for your goat cut medium for this dish and make sure there’s a bit of bone for extra flavour.
Stir the goat pieces round in the lemon garlic paste and make sure it’s well coated and allow the meat to colour slightly. Then cover with the water and put in the oven at 160℃ for two hours. At that point, check the liquid levels and top up if it looks too reduced. Then add the whole scotch bonnet. Don’t chop it, just allow it for infuse some fruity flavour and a little tiny bit of heat. Add in the roughly chopped peel of one preserved lemon and the black olives and cook for another hour or until the meat pulls away from the bone easily.
Serve in deep bowls with plenty of the sauce and the carb of your choice. Rice would work well, but I used pitta bread as I had it handy. Soak up the juice and don’t be afraid to pick up the meat to pull it off the bone, you should even get some marrow in them if you’re lucky. The sweet earthy goat goes brilliantly with the salty lemons and rich anchovy and the ginger and scotch bonnet add a warmth. It’s a simple, tasty, very grown up dish with a lot going on and it’s a great way to discover goat if you haven’t already!