There are a couple of times per year that a smell emanates from our neighbours’ garden that is intensely cruel solely because the wafts of delight have a propensity to induce a voracious appetite. Often plumes of smoke float through the air carrying with them a heavenly smell that draws you in. Then, as you sneak closer you hear the sizzles of hot fatty goodness dripping on to burning coals. And finally, as your head transcends the top of the fence you see the source of the aromatic Sirens; a whole spitted goat, with its searing caramelised exterior gently rotating over smoking hot charcoal, spitting out delicious globules of fat and gelatine. Thankfully, we are on very good terms with our ageing Greek neighbours and once their family has been fed there is usually plenty left for the ones that have been so mesmerically drawn in. And on eating, as the juices run down the ravines of the arm, I can with all honesty say it tastes so much better than it smells.
I have had a fascination with goat meat since my travels around India a few years ago, most of which was delicately enhanced with wondrous herbs and spices. It wasn’t till I arrived in Melbourne when I first ate slow-spit roasted goat that the beauty of this meat was revealed. If cooked incorrectly you can resign your goat to the shoe leather pile. Goat, by its nature, needs long, slow cooking to provide a chance for its tough fibres to wilt into submission. The leg can be notoriously difficult to cook due to the amount of work it has to do when the animal is alive, but it does have wonderful flavour. My favourite, however, is the shoulder, which has a beautiful balance of lean meat interspersed with lots of cartilage that breaks down into the succulent gelatine which keeps the meat moist. In addition, the fat content of the shoulder significantly enhances the flavour of the meat. An oven will never replicate the amazing taste provided by hot coals, but if you have the marinade right and cook it long and slow then you will certainly achieve something very close.
The method and recipe I have used here produces a terrificly flavoured meat with a tenderness that allows it to be easily pulled or shredded. The initial burst of heat in the oven is to generate some browning (also know as the Maillard reaction) which essentially creates flavour on the surface. The meat is then covered and turned to low so it then roasts/ braises gently in its own juices.
Succulent Slow Roasted GoatPrint
- ■ 1.5-1.8kg shoulder of goat on the bone |
- For the Marinade:
- ■ 1 lemon - juice of |
- ■ sprig fresh rosemary | Needles removed from the stalk and finely chopped.
- ■ 1 clove garlic | Crushed.
- ■ 3 tbsp olive oil |
- ■ couple of pinches sea salt |
- ■ 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper |
Wash the goat shoulder and pat dry. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Rub all of the marinade into the goat – give it a really good massage getting in to every nook and cranny…it’s quite therapeutic. Put the marinated goat in a roasting tin and put it in a fridge for at least 12 hours for the ingredients to get to know each other.
Take the marinated goat out of the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Meanwhile preheat your oven to 230 deg C. (450 deg F.).
Put the goat in the oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Take the goat out of the oven and turn the oven down to 120 deg C. (250 deg F.). Baste the goat shoulder with any juices that have been released and then cover the roasting tin with foil so that that goat is completely covered – be careful as that roasting tin will still be pretty hot. Put the goat back in the oven and let it cook for 7-8 hours.
Take the goat out of the oven, remove it from the roasting tin and put it on a rack with a drip tray underneath. Wrap foil around the goat to keep it hot and let it rest for 20 minutes. Unwrap the foil and then remove the meat from the bones (careful as the meat will still be hot) and shred with two forks . Serve at once or leave it to cool to room temperature and refrigerate till needed. The goat can be quickly warmed up in a non-stick frying pan/ hot plate over a low to medium heat.
I used the goat for two different dishes. The first was a Greek style wrap with cucumber, spinach, lime, dill, and a feta and yoghurt sauce. The leftover goat was used the next day, fried up with butter, spinach, mushroom and spring onions and served with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce.