Sunday, November 25, 2012

My 4-Hour Goat Stew--Vietnamese Style (makes about 3 quarts)


I made a Vietnamese goat stew to serve my family for a get together this afternoon for our Thanksgiving sans turkey.  It is normally made with beef, hence the name Bò Kho (Beef Stew). Here is my Dê Kho (Goat Stew)!  This is a great dish to make in advance.  As with any stew it usually tastes a lot better the next day!  Make sure to scoop or suck out the bone marrow if you are lucky to get a good bone on your plate!!  This stew may appear to have complex flavors but all the herbs blend together well. The broth has a beautiful yellow-orange color that comes from the annatto seeds.  If you can plant and harvest your own seeds then you can ensure freshness. The annatto tree is grown in the tropics.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 lb goat leg or shoulder*, have the butcher cut the meat and bone into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces
4 T canola oil
1 T annatto seeds
5 shallots, peeled and diced
5 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
3 lemongrass, minced or ground for the soft part, bruised and tied for the rest into a knot
2 T curry powder
1/4 t ground cloves
5 whole star anise (ground 1 star anise to a powder)
1 t Chinese 5-spice powder
1 three-inch cinnamon stick
2 T fish sauce
1 t sugar
2 t Better Than Bouillon (beef base)
32-oz beef stock (all natural and low sodium)
2 C water
6 carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths

Method:

1) Heat the annatto seeds and oil in a pot (use at least a 5-quart pot) over medium heat.  Stir for 1 minute. Turn heat off and let the seeds steep for 10-15 minutes.  Discard the seeds.
2) Heat the pot back up over medium heat.  Sear the goat meat in the annatto oil about 1-2 minutes on each side, set the seared meat aside.
3) In the same pot, add shallots, garlic, lemongrass, curry powder, cloves, star anise, and Chinese 5-spice. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
4) Return the seared goat meat back into the pot, add cinnamon stick, fish sauce, sugar, beef base, beef stock, and water.  Turn heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 3 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
5) Add carrots and cook for 20-30 minutes or until carrot is tender.
6) Serve with rice, noodles or toasted baguette.

annatto seeds
(either buy them in the store or harvest your own)
rendering the annatto seeds in oil
for a beautiful yellow-orange color
goat meat cut into the preferred size
(best to ask your butcher for assistance!)

*Let the pot cool completely and then refrigerate.  The next day scoop out some of the fat that has floated to the top and discard.  I find that the goat meat has much less fat than beef.
*Optional:  Just before serving you can make a sauce and stir it in the pot to enhance a yellow-orange color of the stew.  Heat 3 T olive oil in a small pot over medium high heat.  Add 2 t annatto seeds and 1 t curry powder and stir for about 1 minute.  Turn off heat and let the contents steep for about 10-15 minutes. Remove and discard the annatto seeds and pour the colored oil into the pot. Stir the pot a few times to mix the oil thoroughly.  This will give the pot a nice yellow-orange color to your dish. 
*After you cut the soft parts of the lemongrass into thin rings you can mince it finely with a heavy knife.  What I find to be helpful is to use a coffee grinder to grind it.  It's quick and works great.  I have a coffee grinder that I keep in my kitchen cabinet strictly for grinding herbs.
*I bought a goat leg at my favorite goat meat store in Haymarket.  Scott is the owner of Puritan Beef Company, which was first opened by his grandfather in 1911!!  The service is excellent and the meat is clean and fresh.  If you ever want to buy part or a whole goat this is the place to go!  Puritan Beef Company is located at 90 Blackstone Street, Boston, MA.  It is near the Orange Line (MBTA) and it is open Monday to Saturday.  Their phone number is 617-523-1419.
*Make sure you ask your butcher to cut the goat leg or shoulder to the size you prefer.  It is impossible to cut it at home without the proper equipment. 

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