Goat is a glorious meat, more strongly flavored than beef, as versatile as chicken, and containing fewer calories and less cholesterol than either beef or chicken. Goat is the most popular meat in the world, and it’s eaten everywhere, including Latin America, Africa, and India.
Goat, however, is not eaten very much at all in the United States.
Recently, I got a hold of five pounds of raw goat meat, and we decided to make a Jamaican goat curry.
The recipe called for some harder-to-find ingredients – like pigeon peas and Jamaican curry seasonings – so we stopped by a place that I’d been biking past for years: Kingston Market Caribbean & African Groceries (1401 S. Fifth, Maywood).
Inside the market, owner Ramone Roberts greeted us and, when he found out we were making goat curry, had some suggestions for us. His first suggestion was to use his favorite brand of curry powder; “You want curry flavor, then this is it. It really pulls you over the line,” Roberts said with a smile while miming a person pulling us over the line.
Our recipe called for potatoes, but Roberts further suggested that we could use yam instead. Though yams are frequently thought to be, basically, sweet potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes are different tubers. Yams are starchier, drier, and less sweet than sweet potatoes: you have to serve them in a soup or gravy because they need that extra moisture and flavor.
As Roberts showed us around his family’s market, several people came in: four or so of whom were Jamaican, Roberts told us, and one of whom was from Guadeloupe. This Guadeloupian customer was looking for bread fruit, which they usually stock at Kingston Market Caribbean & African Groceries.
Roberts told us that “in a few weeks,” they would be moving the store about a block north and opening a carry-out counter for “real Jamaican food, not Americanized versions of Jamaican food.” That sounds excellent, and we’ll be back for some of that.
At home, we marinated the goat overnight, and then stewed it with various spices and the yam. There are many goat curry recipes online, and our recipe was a combination of several.
Goat is particularly good for curries because the stronger flavor of the meat stands up to the powerful spice profile of the curry.
Even if you’re not going to be making goat curry, you’ll enjoy a visit to Kingston Market Caribbean & African Groceries. We found lots of cool seasonings and teas. Because this little grocery will soon be moving to a bigger space, many items are marked down by 30% — so you can take home some less familiar ingredients for even less of a financial commitment.
Curry goat is hearty and warming, which is just the kind of meal we want as winter draws us in.
If you want to pick up some goat meat close to home, they frequently have it at Mario’s Butcher Shop (5817 W. Madison, Chicago) and sometimes at Costco (but you need to purchase it in 15-pound boxes…too much, probably, if you’re a first-time eater of goat meat).