You should be eating goat meat - we're not kidding!

12 October 2011 | 0 Comments

Forget chicken, lamb, pork and beef... It's time to give goat a go...

We all have our favourite Sunday roasts. Do you like to sit down to a succulent leg of roast lamb or a simple roast chicken?

Or, in this age of austerity, perhaps you’re trying out some cheaper cuts of meat to keep the family well fed and happy.

Sales of goat meat increase

It's far less likely that you’ll think to pop a goat in the oven, but butchers and farmers have announced that goat meat is the latest alternative for the roasting pot.

Put away any preconceptions you may have about goat being a tough, chewy meat, which needs hours in the oven and comes out with a strong and pungent flavour. There’s a new kid on the block (do excuse the pun), a high grade South African breed that is cheaper and leaner than lamb and just as easy to cook.

Top notch goat

There are now 15 commercial farms and 150 breeders of Boer goats across the country, whereas most of the goat curries you may have tasted will probably have been made with a poorer quality meat shipped in from New Zealand or Australia. Often the meat is the waste or cull from a dairy herd, rather than a good quality product bred specifically for eating.

“Good quality meat isn’t overly strong or dry,” confirms Sharon Peacock, who has a herd of Boers at Cockerham, near Lancaster. “It is a low fat product and you don’t have to cook it for hours. Anything you can do with lamb, you can do with goat.”

Peacock has worked hard over the past decade to create a good quality herd and to educate the British public about her meat, and it seems the message is finally getting through.

Top chefs serve goat

Nigel Haworth at Northcote Manor buys Peacock's goat meat to serve at his Michelin-starred restaurant. Rick Stein has a goat recipe in his new book and series on Spain. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is also a fan.

Are you convinced yet? In fact, goat meat is incredibly popular across the globe. It is only the Brits who are lagging behind. The New York Times famously claimed it to be the most widely eaten meat in the whole world, but it's more like fourth behind pork, beef and chicken. Even so that's a lot of goat meat being eaten around the world.

It is healthy too

Goat meat is low in cholesterol, high in iron and ounce for ounce has less fat than chicken and a similar number of calories.

I decided to roast a shoulder of goat, courtesy of Peacock, and sat it in a Persian-inspired marinade for 24 hours – olive oil, white wine vinegar, onion, cumin, turmeric, garlic and fresh coriander and mint. It roasted at 160°C for two and a half hours and came out perfectly tender, falling away from the knife.

Good flavour

The flavour was more subtle and lighter than lamb, and there was also some dark meat with a gamier flavour. It is difficult to describe the taste of a food we aren’t accustomed to eating, and goat is generally placed somewhere between lamb and beef. I wouldn’t say I prefer it to either, but it is a welcome change from the typical roast.

You certainly don’t need to be into trying all sorts of weird foods to enjoy it. It also provides the opportunity to be a bit more adventurous with your sides dishes.

Although goat is popular in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and North African cooking, and so lends itself well to the herbs and spices used in those regions, it works just as well with flavourings we typically use with British roasts, such as mint, rosemary and fruit jellies. Mediterranean herbs like thyme, basil and oregano are also fine accompaniments.

Although butchers have reported an increased demand for goat, the best way to get hold of quality meat is direct from the breeder. You can contact Sharon Peacock and other good breeders here.

Order in advance

The goats are slaughtered at between 12 and 18 months, much like lamb, but as the herds in Britain are still quite small you might have to wait for your order – Peacock advises ordering three to four weeks in advance of your goat feast.

Will goat meat soon replace roast lamb or beef on our dinner tables? At present the supplies are so small that this is very unlikely, but welcoming a new and delicious food into the fold can only be a good thing.

Also worth your attention:

Valentine Warner's Goat curry

The secret cloned meat in your food

Would you eat test tube meat?

Eating red meat is linked to cancer

Buy gourmet meat online from Westin Gourmet


Be the first to comment

Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature

Copyright © All rights reserved.