No kidding: goat is the (ethical) new lamb

British cooks are eventually catching on to what the rest of the world has long known goat meat is sustainable, healthy and full of flavour. Time to update that shepherds pie recipe

Some years ago, sitting on a develop somewhere in West Bengal, flicking through a dog-eared Indian guidebook for the hundredth time, it dawned on me that the mutton we had been merrily feeing for the past three months was likely goat, rather than the sheep we’d presumed. I still remember the shock- after all, in the provincial Britain of the 1990 s, goat’s cheese still seemed pretty exotic.

Last month, I went into my local butcher’s looking for lamb mince for a shepherd’s tart and was persuaded to try goat instead- and very nice it was too. Not long afterwards, I ultimately attained it to Kricket, a wildly popular “Indian-inspired” restaurant in Soho, London, whose goat dishes include a rich, offal-spiked keema and a curry described by Time Out as the best thing on the menu.

Why has goat, which has long been popular with Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Asian cooks, abruptly determined favour with British chefs such as Fergus Henderson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jeremy Lee, who reckons it makes” faggots to die for “– and should the rest of us follow their leading?

Sustainability

There are 45,000 commercial dairy goats in the UK, with demand predicted to rise by 500%. That entails an nasty lot of male kids that can either be raised for meat- or euthanised at birth. If you feed goat’s cheese or drink goat’s milk, you should consider feeing goat meat as well.

Cawoods
Cawoods goat meat from Morrisons

Health

Goat is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than most red meat, which makes it a good option of protein for us omnivores.

Flavour

Although it is often rejected as tough or unpleasantly strong , not all goat is alike. Kid, like lamb, is tender and delicate, while older animals are ideal for long, slow cook and stand up well to strong spicing. James Whetlor, the supplier responsible for bringing goat to the attention of many chefs, recommends purchasers ask for kid or nanny goat-” they behave quite differently in the pot “. Though supermarkets are yet to embrace the trend( Morrisons is the only one to stock it in selected branches ), goat can increasingly be found at farmer’s markets and online, as well as in butcher’s catering to communities that have long appreciated it.

The thrill of the new

As Whetlor explains in his volume, Goat: Cook and Eating, because goat is central to so many cuisines around the world, it is the perfect meat for the novice cook-” cooking with goat virtually obligates you to broaden your cook repertoire “. Not merely can it be swapped in for lamb in familiar recipes such as the aforementioned shepherd’s tart, but Whetlor’s book includes dishes from Spain, Somalia, Mexico and Milan: different goats for different folks, and something for everyone.

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

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