Category Archives: Meat CSA

Escape to Morocco

Goat Tagine

When I started my blog a little over 4 years ago, one of my goals was to be motivated and inspired to cook from my overflowing freezer and pantry. I’ve had mixed results with that objective. Howard would say it’s more of a negative flow, in other words, the coffers seem to fill more and more instead of emptying.

I was reminded of my resolution though when I recently had trouble finding something that I just knew was in the freezer somewhere. I can’t remember what it was, but I know that, with frozen fingertips, I did eventually find it in the back of the bottom shelf of the upright freezer. This experience renewed my intention of being creative with ingredients I have on hand.

In my search for the mystery item, I came across a package of goat stew meat from back when we were in a meat CSA, before the meat delivery outran the pace of our consumption. With the weather decidedly colder, a pot of stew seemed in order.

After a survey of the food on-hand, and a little internet browsing, I was inspired to make a tagine, no further grocery shopping required. I had canned tomatoes and chickpeas on the shelf as well as onion, garlic, and butternut squash from our Winter CSA. The Moroccan spices added culinary warmth that was lacking outside. Served over a bed of quick-cooking couscous, the pseudo-exotic stew made a satisfying meal.

If goat is too exotic for you, or you don’t have a ready source, this would be delicious with lamb instead. If you’ve never tried goat, do! Globally, it’s the most popular meat. It’s not as strong and gamy as lamb, yet it has a different taste than beef or pork. Try it, you’ll like it!

Goat Tagine with Chickpeas and Roasted Winter Squash
Serves 4

1 lb goat stew meat, trimmed of fat and membranes, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
Salt and pepper
1 onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (28 oz) whole peeled tomatoes, drained (juice reserved) and coarsely chopped
1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

In a bowl, season the meat with salt and pepper.

In a medium-sized Dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Brown the meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, coriander, and cumin. Allow flavors to bloom for a few minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes and the juice. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400F. In a bowl, toss together the butternut squash pieces and the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and somewhat browned.

Add the roasted squash and chickpeas to the stew. Continue to simmer for about 10 more minute to allow the flavors to meld.

Serve over couscous.


Melissa Clark, My New Cookbook Hero

I go through phases where I’m mildly obsessed with a different cookbook author. Rick Bayless and Mark Bittman have held a top place in my affections for the longest stretches at a time. This week, a new author sits comfortable in that seat: Melissa Clark. If you don’t know about Melissa, that needs to change right now. She writes a regular column for the New York Times, but, as a Bostonian, I’m not a daily reader and often forget to check it out on-line on Wednesdays. No worries. Melissa has published two wonderful cookbooks, complete with delightful headnotes or full-blown essays to accompany each recipe.

I made a two winner dinners from her books this week. The first was one of my newest favorites. Melissa’s Mother’s Roasted Chicken on Mustard Croutons, from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. This recipe reminds me of Dorie Greenspan’s Roast Chicken for Les Parasseux (Lazy People), but it’s even quicker and easier. Chicken pieces, in my case, thighs and drumsticks, are roasted on top of slices of country bread coated with Dijon mustard. Everything is seasoned with salt and pepper, decorated with thyme springs, bay leaves, and garlic cloves and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It only takes 40 minutes in the oven. The best part is the bread cushion that each piece of chicken gets served on. It’s rich with chicken fat and juices mixed with a generous dose of mustard. We love, love, love it!

Each piece of chicken gets its own cushion

On the side, I made Roasted Bagna Cauda Broccoli from Food 52 that was amazing! The blasted broccoli is tossed in a warm Caesar-like sauce. It called for a sprinkling of almonds on top, but I used toasted pinenuts instead.

The other dinner was a slight variation of Braised Pork with Cinnamon, Tomatoes, and Olives from Melissa’s newest book, Cook This Now. This book is organized seasonally, month by month. I jumped a little bit ahead to the March chapter. The recipe called for pork shoulder, but I used boneless country-style ribs, which are from the shoulder end of the loin. As I do with many stews, I used half the meat (one instead of two pounds) and added more vegetables. I would usually double the veggies but this recipe didn’t really have any other than tomatoes and leeks. I threw in an extra leek, and then added two cans of drained and quartered artichoke hearts for the last bit of cooking along with the olives. All the ingredients melded together like old friends. Melissa suggested serving the braise over polenta, but that’s not a favorite at our house. Instead, I served it over barley with carrots and scallions, another recipe from the April chapter of the same book.

Melissa Clark remains my cookbook hero of the month, and the foreseeable future! Both of her books offer many more tempting recipes to try, so stay tuned for my next choice. If you have a favorite from either of these books, please suggest! Or, if you have your own cookbook hero, share! I’m always open to jumping on a different bandwagon.