Chefs Greg LaPrad and Tony Andiario at Quiessence have put a $37 goat meat special on the menu this week, and they're doing it for a good cause. According to their recent email newsletter, goat dairies -- which are in the business of making goat cheese from a mother goat's milk -- have no use for male goats, and the fate of male babies is not always so pleasant.
What's the best recourse? According to Heritage Foods USA, who launched No Goat Left Behind in 2011, Americans should eat more goat meat, which "provides a sustainable end market for dairy animals."
If you're a meat eater already, it makes sense, and Q's preparation looks awesome (see the jump).
Andiario tells me the four kids (male goats under a year old, called "capretto" in Italian, "cabrito" in Spanish when cooked) Quiessence bought this week are lean and mild-tasting -- similar to lamb but slightly LESS gamey. So if you've never tried goat in a Jamaican curry or a Mexican taco, maybe this upscale version will appeal to you.
Quiessence slow-roasts the meat -- seasoned with garlic, cumin and allspice -- over pecan wood until it has a smoky quality reminiscent of barbecue. Then it's braised in stock until it's juicy and tender. Garnished with pumpkin seeds and Fossil Creek goat cheese, the capretto will be served with sugar pumpkin puree and a ragout of tepary beans and matsutake mushrooms. Sounds like sweet, earthy, autumnal deliciousness to me.
Here's what Heritage had to say about about the male baby goat dilemma: "Goat dairies are in the business of making cheese. To make cheese you need milk, and to get milk each season the goats must have babies. In a weird way, these babies are a bi-product of a farm that is looking to produce milk. The labor and feeding costs of caring for these babies is significant. Since the farm needs the mother's milk to produce cheese, the babies are fed on expensive milk replacer, a goat version of baby formula. Without a dependable end market for these animals farmers simply cannot take on the financial burden and must face hard choices like selling the animals into the commodity market at a few days old or even killing them at birth." - Heritage Foods USA
The irony is, this wouldn't be an issue in any other country but the U.S., where diners sometimes have a problem eating meat that actually resembles meat in any way. Goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world.
So whether you're pricked by conscience or stimulated by the thought of pecan-smoked cabrito with pumpkin, beans and mushrooms, go get your goat on before it's too late. Quiessence plans to sell out by the end of Saturday night.
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