It's my week to choose our Sunday Slow Suppers cooking challenge. I love goat. So, why not? Especially when I found this recipe on Dana Tommasino's cooking blog - Figments. She credits Paula Wolfert, for the recipe, (Pay attention Paula Deen, gracious cooks give credit. See?) but she tweaked it in several ways. I've also made a few minor changes.
After I started the thread on SlowTalk for this week, and people started discussing the challenges they were having in getting the goat shanks, I began to feel a bit concerned that I had made it too difficult. But, it was soon obvious that everyone was having as much fun with the challenge as I was.
First challenge for me: making sure I had fresh goat shank. My go-to resource for anything that white bread American grocery stores don't carry is a place called Global Foods. I'm sure you guys don't need me to go into yet another rhapsody over Global Foods. Right? Those who don't know what I'm talking about, just check the "This Week at Global Foods" category in the right hand column of my blog.
A few weeks ago, I called the butcher at Global Foods to ask them to special order goat shanks from their supplier, American Halal Meats. I called again on Monday, just to touch base and make sure he was indeed going to have my shanks for me. He started dancing around about how the supplier was a "strange dude" and he had trouble communicating with him sometimes. Upshot, no... no goat shanks. So, I took matters into my own hands and called the supplier directly. The gentleman I visited with explained that he would happily deliver directly to me any order of 10 lbs or more. I said great, I'll take as many goat shanks as necessary to make it 10 lbs. (that turned out to be 12 because they are HUGE)
His farm is about 50 miles west of me, so we determined that he would call when he was near my highway exit and I'd meet him. That was Monday... three goats were freshly slaughtered on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning we arranged to meet at the Moto-Mart Gas Station at the intersection. He would bring 11+ pounds of goat shanks, I would bring $60. The "drop" went off without a hitch. I pulled up to the Moto-Mart, backing into my space so I could make a quick getaway. He drove up in his white delivery truck. We both got out. After a greeting and handshake, he handed me my package, I handed him the cash. We both jumped back into our vehicles and drove away.
I followed the Wolfert/Tommisino recipe fairly closely. Because they were so large, I used only three goat shanks instead of six. (I now have nine shanks individually vacuum sealed in my freezer.)
First I dry toasted the spices, ground them and measured along with the saffron, ground ginger and fresh grated ginger.
Then I prepped the veggies and garlic.
Rinsed, patted dry and seasoned the meat with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Then seared them in a dry pan.
Removed the shanks to a preheated slow cooker, then used the original pan to soften the onions & half the fennel in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then added honey, spices, garlic, & tomatoes.
Transferred the veggies and spices to the slow cooker to join the shanks and added the chicken broth, cinnamon, and fresh cilantro bundle.
Three hours hanging out while the project in the kitchen filled the rest of our house with exotic fragrance. Time to add the rest of the fennel, the olives, and preserved lemon.
But first, because I'm not a huge couscous fan, I decided to make one of my favorite rice/grain mixtures from Thailand. It comes from Global Foods in a 2 kg vacuum sealed block called Sawat-D Healthy Grain. It has Red Cargo Rice, Brown Rice, Black Sweet Rice, Job's Tear, Split Mung Beans, & Sweet Cargo Rice. I usually cook it up in huge batches 50/50 with steel cut oats. But, that's another blog post for another time.
I thought the reduction would help pull the rice into compatibility with the rest of the dish. I was using a slow cooker instead of braising in the oven, I had more liquid than I normally would have after three hours. I skimmed off about 2 cups to make the reduction. Added some extra preserved lemon, cinnamon, & olives to intensify the flavors.
Plating was a whole bone-in shank with the rice and veggies on the side, then drizzled with the reduction. Perfect wine pairing was a bottle of Castoro Cellars Tempranillo Reserve.
Leftovers today for lunch. Sorry, folks at the store. There won't be any left to bring in tomorrow.