Battle Hymn of The Goat Father, Part 2

5 Dec

Once the carcasses were hanging from gambrels in the barn all that is left to do is dig a gut pit. Since Jakey had missed out on all the work thus far, Tex determined that this job would fall to my seven year-old boy. How deep did the gut pit need to be, asked Jake. “deep enough so the wolves nd coyotes can’t find it. Lets call it six to eight feet.”

Jake’e eyes bugged and he looked to me for support. “Ground’s frozen solid, too,” I said, by way of encouragement.

primal cuts chart, goat

“Better use the back hoe, Jakey,” said Chris, casually. It took A moment to sink in. Then Jakey started dancing around the Twenty minutes later Tex and Jake were jouncing down the driveway with the front-end bucket loaded with two 30-gallon garbage cans full of steaming goat guts, hooves and heads. Dad and the dogs trotting dutifully behind toward the upper pasture.

Once we’d selected the hole Jake got to work, chirping happily while operating the pneumatic scoop like an old hand.

Once back in at Howard Hall we unpacked the goat shoulders and hung them in the back porch. It being December the only time we reminded of their presence was when it

goat hams hang on the back porch

Hanging in he Florida Room at the back of he house in Flatbush, Brooklyn, enjoying the chilly December temperatures

was time to feed the chickens. Jake does that chore in the morning. Occasionally he’d update me on their progress, but it was rare that he had time to talk goat meat and locate a boot or his backpack, or both. So the goat continued to hang… and hang… and hang.

One particularly balmy Friday morning with spring just around the corner I took the hams of their hooks in the  ceiling and peeled the hardened muscle from the ham, and managed to discover some usable meat. Not enough to feed more than one, sadly. I resolved to make up the difference at the Halal meat market on Atlantic Avenue.

When I called Chef Brad and asked him for a recipe that might cover the funk in the hams resulting from them goat hanging a bit too long. He didn’t hesitate, try adapting the Moroccan lamb shank recipe he’d published for Martha Stewart, he said.

Martha Stewart toting The Wall Street Journal once upon a time

Making up the balance by visiting the Halal Market on Atlantic Avenue (add bit re. terror alert for tag)


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced crosswise
  • 1 red chile, preferably Holland hot or red Thai chile, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 piece ginger (3 inches), peeled and very finely chopped

    Jake preparing the veg for our goaty interpretation of Brad Farmerie's Moroccan stew

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups Brown Chicken Stock, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes
  • 8 dried apricots, sliced
  • 20 green and black olives, such as Moroccan or Alphonso and Cerignola
  • 4 lamb shanks
  • Mint Yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, chile, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add celery, carrot, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, star anise, and saffron. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and fragrant; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken stock, tomatoes, apricots, and olives; bring to a boil. Add lamb, making sure it is submerged halfway; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven and cook, rotating lamb every 30 minutes, until meat is evenly browned and falling off the bone, and the sauce thickens.

I wish I could say it was intentional, but when I started peeling the goat on Friday morning, it had completely slipped my mind that Easter was two days away. While Jakey and I prepped the Moroccan stew I meditated on an appropriate name for Easter dinner. It was not very challenging. A a main course father and son served Judas Goat Moroccan-style stew.

Rocking the polka dot power play Lisa, busy preparing Easter weekend breakfast on a Saturday morning, has no idea that today isMoroccan Braised Goat Day.

2 Responses to “Battle Hymn of The Goat Father, Part 2”

  1. Eugenio December 6, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    How long did you plan on hanging it? Did you salt it prior to hanging? I’m so confused thought you were going to grill some goats.

  2. Manny Howard December 6, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Beloved Bacon Grease!
    No salt. Certainly did not plan on hanging it from before xmas to just before Easter. But guessing the bitter cold worked for me. Couldn’t grill what was salvaged, but could curry the heck out of it.
    I DID put a pig in the caja (and missed you) for block party. Pictures to follow.

    Presently working on a cow.

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