Where to begin with last night’s dinner?? It is an overwhelming task to relate how 10 people got together, each one more enthusiastic than the other to contribute to the meal, and taste our way through 10 different dishes.
It all started when my friend came to dinner a couple of weeks ago and we started talking about Easter. I had mentioned that it might be novel to try cooking Kid – not just because I have never tried to, but ,because I was excited to post a blog titled “Roast Kid” for Easter! We joked (well, mostly me) about all sorts of titles and methods, like, “sear the kid in a hot pan,” or “braise the kid with lots of aromatics for a whole day and night!” I am a cruel and horrible person!
A few days later I got an email from Tom telling me he had ordered a 10 lb goat leg and it was his gift to me for Easter! Wow! There was no getting out of it; I was compelled to cook goat for Easter. I started voraciously reading about how to prepare this meat. Also, my dreams of having “Roast Kid” were over as baby goats are difficult to source outside of Italy?
I couldn’t possibly make this meal for just my family and I certainly wanted Tom to try it. I decided to have a dinner party on Easter Saturday and invite people I knew would love to try goat meat. It turned out that half of the people at the table had cooked, and or, eaten goat before, which made me nervous as this was my first attempt cooking it. The cardinal rule in cooking is to make what you know when you are having people over for dinner. I was clearly putting myself in a position to fail miserably.
I spent far too much time fretting over how to properly roast the goat and finally decided that the safest bet was to slow braise it like I might a big leg of lamb? The braising idea was not only safe, but, I could also do it early enough in the day for things to go wrong and for me to have time to make something completely different! My fears of failure were dispelled when I took the meat out of the oven after 5 hours and it was……perfect. The rest was easy. The pan sauce was a simple matter of making a roux for the juices and the flavors did the rest. The potatoes, carrots and pearl onions were great with this dish, very traditional and wonderfully colorful. I was very pleased.
How on earth did we end up eating so many other dishes last night? Well, everyone at the table is a cooking enthusiast and wanted to make something to add to the festivities – how could I refuse the offer of more sumptuous food for my Easter Table? Before I knew it, every surface in my tiny kitchen (which Eileen declared was “not so crappy” – such a charmer!), including the floor was covered with all kinds of fantastic foods……lasagna, salads, a meat pie, not to mention a ricotta cheesecake, a pound cake and a raspberry semi-freddo!
Somehow – we did it. I felt like I was in Italy taking part in one of their traditional day-long gigantic meals where each dish presented had to be eaten for fear of offending anyone. No one had to twist my arm. I ate with the appetite of a starving animal, willing each course on.
The talk at the table was light and friendly, everyone being far too busy eating to argue about politics or religion – just the way I like it. Thanks to all the people around the table last night, making my Easter Saturday a very memorable one – apart from the dishes that is!
You will Need for Goat & Pan Sauce: 1 8lb goat leg, 2 big onions, large dice,celery ribs, sliced, 3 leeks, white parts only, sliced, 8 garlic cloves, peeled, 6 sprigs fresh oregano, 5 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 fresh bay leaves (or dried), 1 1/2 bottles of white wine, 3 tbs unsalted butter, 3 tbs flour, coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, olive oil for frying
You will Need for Roasted Vegetables: 1/2 lb red pearl onions, 1/2 lb white pearl onions, 1/2 cipolline onions OR 1 1/2 lbs of one kind, 3 lbs baby red and white potatoes, 1 1/2 lbs carrots, cut into “fry-like” sticks (quite thick), 5 tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt and 6 or more grinds of fresh black pepper.
Preheat oven 300*
1 – Trim goat leg of any excess fat with a big sharp knife. Put a pot (big enough to saute leg) on high heat and add 4 tbs olive oil. Season the leg with salt and pepper and sear on all sides until leg browns.
2 – Turn heat down to medium and add 1 tbs butter followed by the onions, leeks, garlic, celery, herbs, bay leaves and 1 tsp coarse salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
3 – Add wine and goat and bring to a boil. Cover with tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 5 hours.
While meat is cooking prepare the vegetables (and anything else you are preparing to go with this meal, like a salad or dessert?). Have the vegetables prepped and ready to go when the meat comes out of the oven. By the time you take the meat off the bone, and, make the pan sauce, they will be cooked.
Preheat oven 425*
1 – First, prep onions. Put 4 or 5 qt pot on high heat filled with water. When it boils add the onions and blanch for 4 or so minutes (don’t start timing until water has come back to a boil after adding onions).
2 – Drain into colander and let them cool. In the meantime wash and dry the potatoes and prep the carrots.
3 – Put everything into a big bowl and add 3 tbs olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix together.
4 – Put the last 2 tbs of the olive oil into a big baking sheet (large enough to hold all the vegetables in a single layer) and put into the hot oven for 3 or 4 minutes. Take sheet out carefully and tip in all the vegetables and spread evenly. Roast for 25 minutes, take out, turn, and roast for another 15 or so minutes. When a knife can be inserted easily into a potato it is ready.
Make Pan Sauce:
1 – When goat is cooked, remove from pot, put on a platter and tent with foil while you are making the sauce. Strain all juices from the pan into a big bowl using a mesh sieve. Discard the vegetable mixture.
2 – Put a saute pan on low/medium heat and melt the 3 tbs of butter. When it has melted add the flour and whisk into butter for 1 minute. Slowly add the strained pan juices 1 cup at a time. When you have added 3 cups cook sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring often. If it is still not the consistency you like keep adding juice until it is the way you like it. Reserve the rest of the strained juices in the freezer for another sauce, another time.
To serve Goat: Take meat off of the bone and put on a platter. Pour a little of the leftover au jus onto the meat. Bring everything to the table and let everyone serve themselves, or, make everyone their plate and serve.
Here is a pictorial view of the rest of the food served at last night’s Easter Odyssey!
(some of the recipes will be documented over the next few days – each one getting their own post)
This doesn’t even include the desserts; will save that treat for another day!