"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Marthe Troly-Curtin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goat Meat Tacos

Adapted from Alexandro Garcia; Blue Agave Club, Pleasanton, CA
While on a research trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, food editor Ian Knauer met restaurateur and fellow traveling cook Alexandro Garcia, who made a special point of sharing his family's recipe for goat. This dish combines the subtle perfume of bay leaves and cloves with the depth and spice of dried chiles. It's a combination so compelling we found ourselves going back for more even after we were full.

Active time: 45 min Start to finish: 5 hr

Servings: Makes 8 servings

3 dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles, wiped clean
2 dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 pound tomatoes
3 1/2 to 4 pound bone-in goat such as shoulder, neck, or leg
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
16 to 24 corn tortillas

Accompaniments: sliced radishes; crumbled queso fresco; salsa verde; thinly sliced romaine or iceberg lettuce; chopped cilantro; chopped white onion; lime wedges

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed (leave veins for heat). Heat a dry large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles in batches, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until more pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds per batch.

Transfer chiles to a bowl and soak in hot water until softened, 20 to 30 minutes.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato and blanch in simmering water 20 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking. Peel tomatoes. Coarsely chop, reserving juice.

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cut goat at joints to separate into pieces and put in a 3-qt shallow baking dish. Sprinkle all over with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Drain chiles, discarding soaking water, and pur´ in a blender with tomatoes and reserved juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining ingredients except tortillas until very smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour sauce over meat, turning to coat, then cover dish tightly with a double layer of foil and braise in oven until meat is very tender, 3 to 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and cool meat in liquid, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Coarsely shred meat, discarding bones, then mix into braising liquid in dish. Return to oven and cook, covered, until sauce is simmering, about 30 minutes more.

Fifteen minutes before goat is done, make 2 stacks of tortillas and wrap each stack in foil, then heat in oven on rack alongside baking dish. Serve goat with warm tortillas and accompaniments.

Cooks' note: Goat can be made 3 days ahead and chilled.

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