A spicy taste of goat from Wiltshire

IT is one of the world’s most popular meats, but goat meat is not widely appreciated in this country. The Salisbury Plain-based business, The Gourmet Goat Farmer, is trying to change this.

Goat meat is eaten by three-quarters of the global population and makes up 10 per cent of all meat consumption worldwide. The reason for its lack of popularity in the UK may be that historically sheep have played a much larger role in British farming, thanks to the importance of the wool trade, but in these days of climate concern and the drive towards regenerative farming, goats tick a lot of boxes.

Unlike sheep, which graze at ground level, goats eat food at different heights, browsing the hedgerow, consuming a variety of plants and vegetation, including leaves, twigs, stems and bark. In this way they’re not overtaxing any one species on the landscape, they keep wildlife corridors open, prevent the spread of noxious weeds and promote the growth of local vegetative species.

In health terms, goat meat scores highly – it is very lean, lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than other meat, including chicken. It’s also higher in iron than other meats and is a source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a healthy unsaturated fat that helps to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, plus, like other meats, goat meat is an excellent source of protein and Vitamins B12 and B2, zinc, potassium and selenium.

So why isn’t it more popular in the UK? A part of the problem is perception. In the past the image of goats meat has been primarily of goat stews or curries, sometimes with poor quality, imported meat. But there are now a number of British farmers rearing goats at high welfare standards and producing not only excellent dairy products but also good quality meat. The goats farmed in the Avebury area of Wiltshire roam free on the Marlborough Downs, feeding on flowers and sweet grass in ancient meadows, resulting in delicious tender meat with a milder taste.

Many popular lamb dishes such as tagine or curry were originally made with goat, complemented by the traditional herbs and spices. Choose from goat shoulder, rump, breast, shins, shanks, chops, mince or any cut you prefer for a succulent, healthier option that is versatile and easy to cook.

The Gourmet Goat Farmer has developed recipes to help home chefs to explore the delights of goat meat:

Goat Biryani

This curry house favourite is meant to be shared, so serve it from the dish at the table, accompanied by naan, raita and a simple tomato salad.

For marinade and meat
200g natural yoghurt
100g fresh ginger, grated
8 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 fresh chillies, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp garam masala
3 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp each ground coriander and cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli powder
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
2kg goat shoulder

For the rice:
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
8 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
8 whole cloves
120g butter
400g basmati rice

To complete:
200ml milk
Generous pinch of saffron strands
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Combine the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, fresh chillies (if using), ground spices (garam masala, 2 teaspoons of the turmeric, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder) and lemon juice in a large bowl, then generously season with salt and pepper. Smother the goat shoulder in this mixture, then cover and leave to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or, better still, overnight.

An hour before cooking, remove the marinated goat from the fridge so it comes to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 230°c or 220°c fan. Place the shoulder in a large roasting tin and roast for 15 minutes in the preheated oven to brown in a few places. Turn the temperature down to 160°c or 150°c fan and add 250ml of boiling water to the roasting tin, then cover with a layer of baking parchment and a layer of foil, sealing tightly around the edges. Cook the shoulder in the oven for 3 hours 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the rapeseed oil in a deep heavy-based pan over a high heat until it sizzles when a piece of onion is dropped in. Fry the finely sliced onions for 10 minutes until golden, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen roll using a slotted spoon. Fry the cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and whole cloves in a saucepan with half the butter for 1 minute over a moderate heat. Add the remaining ground turmeric and the rice, then fry for another minute. Stir in 450ml of boiling water and a generous pinch of salt. Cook uncovered until the water has been absorbed (about 5 minutes).

Assembling and serving the dish
Heat the milk, then add the saffron and leave to infuse for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, grease an ovenproof casserole dish with butter. Layer the rice and onions in the dish with half the coriander leaves and dot with the remaining butter. Pour over the infused milk and saffron. Place the cooked goat meat on top and cover with baking parchment or foil before placing the lid on to retain as much steam as possible. Finish the biriyani in the oven for 35-45 minutes at 170°c or 160°c fan. Remove the lid and scatter the remaining coriander leaves over the top to serve

Goat Korma

For a twist on another curry classic, try this goat korma. Serve with pilau rice, samosas and poppadum or naan bread
Serves: 6-8. Preparation Time: 20 mins plus marinating. Cooking Time: 2 Hours plus resting time

For the marinade
240ml yoghurt
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp ginger, crushed
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp coriander powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cardamom
3 tsp Garam masala
1 red chilli or more to taste

Other ingredients:
1kg Goat meat diced
5 medium onions, finely sliced
3tbsp rapeseed oil
2 strands of mace
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Cover the diced goat meat in the marinade mixture and leave for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. The marinade tenderises the meat, so the longer it is left, the better.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a wide heavy bottomed pan or pot. Fry the onions until deep golden, stirring often. This may take about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set to one side. Place the goat meat and the marinade mixture into the pot, and sauté on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add the fried onions. Pour in 2 cups of hot water and mix well to just cover the meat. Cover with a lid and cook, gently simmering, for approximately 1 hour. Add the mace and nutmeg, and continue to cook until the meat is tender, for approximately another 30 minutes. Allow the Korma to rest before serving for the meat to relax and fully absorb the flavours.

Goatherd Pie

Forget Shepherd’s Pie, give this goat meat variety a whirl instead and prepare to wow your tastebuds! Delicious served with sweet, fresh greens. Serves: 4. Preparation Time: 30 mins. Cooking Time: 1 Hour

500g minced goat
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves (or more to taste), grated
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
½ small lemon, juice and zest
2 generous tbsp hot curry powder (or medium curry powder if you prefer a milder flavour)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
400g parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
400g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp turmeric
1 green chilli, finely chopped
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. In an oven-proof pot or pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a saucepan, add the onion and cook on medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, lemon juice and curry powder, stir well and cook for a few minutes to release the aromas. Remove from the pan. Turn up the heat, add 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, scraping the bottom, and add the meat to brown, stir to break up any lumps and to prevent sticking. Once browned, add the onion mix, tomatoes, and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile peel the parsnips and potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Put into enough cold water to cover. Add a little salt and the turmeric. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes only (you want the parsnips and potatoes firm). Drain and mash. Stir in the chilli, grated lemon zest and coriander (the mash can be quite rough, it works best with small lumps).
Put the potato and parsnip mash mix evenly on top of the meat and ruffle the surface with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes until the top is crispy. Serve with fresh seasonal vegetables

For more information or to order from the Gourmet Goat Farmer, visit https://thegourmetgoatfarmer.co.uk/