It’s a biting cold winter afternoon. I’m parked up in the car park of a West Dublin pub. She is late. The deal may not go down the way I had hoped. My mind is racing. “Is that the Garda (Irish police) in the blue Toyota?” “The crew in the red van look fairly sketch”. “What if this handover goes wrong?” This is my first deal. I am nervous.
A small white refrigerated van crawls into the car park and rolls to a halt, driver’s window to driver’s window. My contact identifies herself. We both get out. The deal is going down. I’m taking one and a quarter keys (kilos to the non dealers]. I count out the notes. She checks my count. The last thing she does is give me a number to ring for future deals. Two minutes later, I am back on the motorway. The deal has gone down and I am not being followed.
I get the stash back to the ‘kitchen’. I open the pack. I’m not going to need to cut it before cooking it. My supplier delivered good product – Buying goat meat shouldn’t be such a big deal. I had just met the lovely Ami from Goat Ireland in Galway. She had diverted to meet me on a delivery trip to customers in Dublin. Goat is not that easy to get hereabouts and acting like a crim is all part of the fun, it seems. Having gone to this trouble, I wanted to do justice to the meat. A Goat Chili seemed like a good idea. It was.
- 1.25 kilos of lean goat meat, cubed.
- 500ml of good beef / chicken or vegetable stock
- 800 gms of best quality copped tomatoes (use whole tinned instead)
- 6 onions
- 3 bell peppers
- 500ml of beer
- 2 limes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of smoked salt (don’t panic if you don’t have smoked)
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 2 teaspoons of tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon of hot paprika (if you think you can handle the heat)
- 5 kinds of dried chilli
Place the chillis in a bowl and add about 500ml of boiling water.
Slice the onions into eights. Do likewise with the peppers, discarding the seeds and stalks. Brown the meat in a little oil, in a big casserole dish. Be warned, goat meat is very lean and you need to be sure to not burn it in this part of the process. It helps to brown it well. This provides a lovely bit of brown for the final chilli colour.
Remove the stalks from the chillis (much easier after they have soaked for half an hour). Make a decision on leaving the seeds in the chillis (hot) or removing them (mild, ya wuss!) before blending the chillis and their soaking water into a delightful paste.
When all the goat meat is browned, remove and reserve. Add the onions to the casserole, turn down the heat, add a splash of the beer. Cover and sweat the onions. When they are translucent add in all the other ingredients, bar the hot paprika and limes.
I like to add the chilli mixture last. It has such a lovely colour.
Bring the dish to a gentle boil before skimming off the foam (this is most of the oil too). Place it in a 180ºC oven for a couple of hours. Remove the lid for the last thirty minutes to allow the dish concentrate. Keep an eye on it as it should not be let dry out. At this stage, taste and adjust the heat with some of the paprika. I didn’t add much as I like the other flavours to have a chance to impress. Just before serving, squeeze in the lime juice from one or both of the limes.
We served this with cornbread. That is really easy to make and excellent with things like sun dried tomato cut through. Here’s a link to a previous one I have done. Go lighter on the sugar if you think it’s too much. In recent times, I have halved the sugar content and the bread is better for it in my maturing opinion.
This is a truly delightful, rich, wholesome chilli. Get some goat and give it a go. You could become addicted to it.
Footnote on availability: Goat meat is healthy, tasty and a bit more available than it used to be. Paul and Ami at Goat Ireland, and a few other producers are doing a good job. We just need more demand. I know a few better butchers are starting to stock goat. This is what I want to see. That way, I won’t be reduced to doing clandestine deals in parking lots for my goat fix.