I’ve been making curried goat about three to four times a month since January, more than I usually do, after my nutritionist suggested that I add some animal protein to my diet. I’m not complaining – I love curried goat. I could eat it every week.
Until maybe 10 years ago, you’d find curried goat on the menu only on special occasions and large gatherings where lots of food is needed like weddings, parties and funeral. Typically, the host would buy a goat and have it butchered.
He would then hire a chef or someone from the community, usually male, who’s skilled at making curried goat. There’s nothing more disappointing and potentially embarrassing than unpalatable curried goat.
The chef would clean the goat and cook it out in the open. Every part of the animal would be used: the intestines (sometimes with the head and feet) to make a soup (called goat head or mannish water).
The flesh slow cooked in curry, Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, scallions, garlic, ginger, and pimento berries. Some chefs add lime juice and white rum. Chunks of carrots and potatoes would also be added to make it a hearty stew, which typically, is served with white rice, sometimes roti.
Following the abolition of slavery, the government looked abroad for workers. They went as far as India where potential workers were lured by the promise of making a fortune working on sugar plantations. The Indians brought with them their curry and curried goat, roti, and callaloo.
These days, you can find curried goat on the menu of almost every restaurant that sells local foods. It’s still the go-to meal for any occasion where large groups gather.
- 4 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
- 2 fresh Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 pounds bone-in goat meat (from leg) cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 boiling potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
- Juice of one lime (optional)
- White rum (optional)
- Water to cover the meat
- In large bowl, mix curry, peppers, garlic, onion, scallions, thyme, salt and pepper. Add to meat and mix to coat. Refrigerate and marinate at least 1 hour and up to 12.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add remaining curry, stirring constantly, until it colors the oil. (To make it peppery, fry the pepper in the oil before adding the meat.)
- Add meat in batches, brown on all sides. When all the meat is browned, add water, remaining marinade, bay leaf, and optional limejuice and rum. Bring to a simmer, cover and slow cook 1 hour.
- Add potatoes and cook until sauce thickens, meat is fork tender and potatoes are cooked, 30 to 40 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve with white rice.
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