Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Other, Other, Other White Meat?

Quiz time.  And we're on the honor system here, people, so don't lie to yourself.  Maybe everyone knew this but me, but I was a little surprised. 

What would you guess is the most widely consumed meat in the world?

If I had to guess, if I had been asked to guess prior to having learned the information and being surprised by it, I would have guessed chicken.  I know there are places and religions where both beef and pork are banned, but I'm not aware of any banning of poultry.  (Sidebar: a quick Google search of "poultry banned" returns two types of stories.  1. Raising poultry banned due to avian flu, and 2. Poultry found to contain banned drugs/banned antibiotics.  I find that second one to be very disturbing.  I am certain that there will need to be a post on the dangers of factory produced poultry or meat in general. But I can't get stuck reading about it tonight because it's late, and because I need to get back to talking about the purpose of this blog.  Which is the most widely consumed meat in the world.  Which is not poultry.)

So, it's not poultry, and it can't be pork what with the being banned by two of the world's major religions (it truly is a cruel god that bans bacon...), and it can't be beef what with it being banned in India and the many people who think it's bad for your heart.

So, what is the most widely consumed meat in the world?

It's goat.

Do you eat goat?  Have you ever eaten goat?  Or is goat one of those edible things that just isn't food - like dandelions and smelt?

According to The Washington Post, 70% of the red meat consumed in the world is goat.  Goat can be kosher and halal.  It has 1/3 fewer calories than beef for equal serving sizes, and 1/4 fewer calories than chicken.  It has two-thirds less fat than beef and lamb.

Goats are sustainable. They are browsers, as opposed to grazers like cows.  Browsers eat leaves, bark, and stems from plants, while grazers eat vegetation at ground level.  What does this mean?  Well, Cows need large areas to be "free range," because they pretty much destroy where they are and need to move on to allow the grass to grow back.  Goats basically eat whatever's around, and not destroy the land.  1 acre of pasture will hold maybe two steers, but will comfortably hold 10 goats.

It's better for you.  It's better for the land.  Why aren't we eating more of it?

A common answer I found on the internet to that question is because it's not easy to find.  There's no mass producer of goat, and generally the only way a butcher can get it is as a whole animal.  But I learned enough in my MBA program to know that supply and demand doesn't work that way.  If there were some demand, it would be supplied.  

I think it's mainly that goats get a bad rap.  We think of them as eating garbage and tn cans and what not.  I remember one time as a child at a petting zoo, a goat tried to eat my sleeve. 

We eat the cheese, and that's okay.  But for some reason, goat meat is not something that Americans want to eat.  Which is actually a problem.  Because here's the thing: only girls make milk.  I'm not sure if you knew that, but it's true.  So you've got dairy goats, and they're making milk, and also making baby goats, but some of those baby goats are boys.  Goat dairy farms don't want male goats.  On a cow dairy farm, the male babies are sold to beef farmers and become steer.  They are then sold for meat.  But no one eats goat meat in the US.  So, most of the male baby goats are killed at birth.  Nobody wants them, which means they're worth less than the cost to feed them.  So they're killed off.

If you like goat cheese, and that sounds terrible to you, you should probably start eating goat meat too.

Here's the thing, though.  Not only is it good for you and good for the earth, it's also just plain good.  I mean, really, really good.  I would describe it as a cross between pork and lamb.  You can tell that it eats a lot of grass because, to me, it tastes just a little grassy.  It's almost sweet.

Give it a try.  You probably won't find it at your local butcher.  I have purchased goat from BSW Farms, out of Union Grove WI.  I know that they are at the Menominee Falls Farmer's Market on Wednesdays, and that you can also email them to order directly.  They do not have a website that I can find.  I have not ordered form Shepherd Song Farm, but I might.  They have a very nice website with goat and lamb, and are located in Downing, WI.

There are lots of goat recipes out there, especially a lot of Greek recipes that look really good.  I decided to go sans-recipe with this one, though, and just use up some of my (you guessed it!) chutney.

Braised Goat Chops in Yellow Tomato Chutney
(makes two servings)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 goat chops (they are very small)
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 pint curried yellow tomato chutney (see below)
  • hard apple cider
 In a dutch or french oven, heat the two tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute three additional minutes.

Meanwhile, season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add the chops to the onions and garlic, and brown on both sides.  Add yellow tomato chutney, and hard apple cider as needed to bring the chutney/liquid level to about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the chops.  Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and allow to braise for one hour, turning once.

I served this with brown rice, and sauteed asparagus and morels with goat cheese.

Curried Yellow Tomato Chutney
(This was a recipe that I made during my canning frenzy last fall.  It turns out to be a great base to braise meat in.  I'm not sure what else to do with it, although the picture in the recipe book seems to imply that you just want to eat it, like jam, on flat bread.  This recipe is from William Sonoma's "The Art of Preserving.")

  • 5 lbs yellow tomatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions 
  • 2 fresh green chiles
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder 
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup malt vinegar
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar or light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
Have ready hot, clean jars and their lids.

Blanch, peel, and core the tomatoes, then cut them into large chunks.  You should have about 10 cups.

Cut each onion into quarters through the stem end, and then cut each quarter crosswise into slices, separating the rings.  Cut each chile in half lengthwise and remove the stem, seeds, and ribs.  Cut each half in half again lengthwise and then thinly slice crosswise. 

In a small cup, stir together the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and chili powder.  In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the spices and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute; do not allow the spices to smoke or burn!  Andd the chiles, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer.  Stir in the tomatoes, onions, vinegar, sugar, and 3/4 tsp salt.

Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 1 hour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the hot chutney into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.  Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary.  Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with lids.

Process the jars for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath.  Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Makes 7 half-pint jars.

1 comment:

  1. Can't say that I've ever had goat. I'm surprised that it's so popular.

    And whatever happened to that chutney you were going to give me?