We all know that there's an imaginary line that goes around the middle of the earth. But we're not talking about the equator - it's the goat belt. More than 500 million goats every year are slaughtered for meat, mainly in the goat belt.
It carves its way right through the heart of Africa, and this great continent has produced some of the most delectable goat dishes in the world. Goat has been hard to come by in the UK in the past, but now you can find it more easily. That means it's time to spice up your dinner table with some of Africa's finest goat recipes.
Let's explore everything you need to know about how to use goat meat to create classic African dishes.
Facts About Goat Meat
Goat meat has long been popular in Africa and the Caribbean, and it turns out it's better for our health than other red meats too. It's a great source of protein and is low in fat compared with other red meats. It's also high in iron, B12, and zinc.
Throughout the world, there are several types of goat meat sold, but in the UK, the Boer variety is the most common.
It goes by various names in different parts of Africa. For example, in some parts of Nigeria, it is called ogufe. In South Africa, it's common to hear the word chevon.
What's the Best Way to Cook Goat?
Due to the fact that goat meat is lower in fat than other meats, it runs the risk of going dry if not cooked correctly. Although flash cooking works well for tender cuts like chops, most cuts of goat benefit from low, slow cooking.
If you've got a slow cooker, this is a great way to allow the goat meat to mellow and become fork tender. If you're in a rush, a pressure cooker can achieve similar results.
What Does Goat Taste Like?
In a word, delicious!
It's more rich and gamey than lamb, and many people find it slightly sweeter. When it has been slow-cooked in a rich sauce, it has a silky texture. This gives it a very luxurious mouthfeel.
It works very well with strong flavours. It is not drowned out but complements spicy and peppery food very well.
African Goat Meat Recipes to Try
Most African recipes call for stewing goat meat until tender. Here are two different approaches from Nigeria and North Africa to tempt your tastebuds.
Nigerian Goat Stew
Unlike a European stew, this Nigerian goat stew involves cooking the meat separately first. Then you prepare the spicy, rich sauce and introduce the two parts to each other. Try to get goat meat with the bone in, as the bones add flavour and richness to the stock.
This recipe will serve 8-10 people, depending on how hungry they are!
For the braised goat meat:
- 1kg goat meat - bone-in
- 1 stock cube/1 tsp bouillon powder
- 1.5 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp salt
For the Sauce:
- 4 tomatoes or one can of whole tomatoes in juice
- 1 red pepper
- 1 or 2 hot chillies
- 1 onion
- 1 stock cube/1 tsp bouillon powder
- Seasonings - equal parts thyme, curry powder and cayenne pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp each)
- 3 tbsp neutral oil, such as light olive or rapeseed
- Salt to taste
Goat Meat Method
- Place the goat meat, crumbled stock cube or bouillon powder, pepper and salt in a large pot
- Add water to cover, bring to a boil
- Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes
- Check that the meat is tender
- Remove the meat from the pot and keep the stock
- If you prefer, you can reduce the cooking time using an Instant Pot on high pressure or another type of pressure cooker
Stew Sauce Method
- Put the tomatoes, pepper, chillies and a little water in the jug of a blender
- Blend the mixture until smooth
- Chop the onion and saute it in oil until translucent
- Add the blended tomato mixture to the pot along with the seasonings
- Simmer for ten minutes, adding a little goat stock if needed to stop it drying out
- Add the goat meat and simmer together for a couple of minutes
- Add more broth until it achieves the consistency you want
- Finally, check the salt, pepper, and chilli level. Add more of each to suit your taste
- Simmer for ten minutes on a low heat
Serve the stew with rice. It's simple comfort food that is sure to be a family-pleaser!
North African Goat Tagine
This rich tagine is inspired by Moroccan dishes that mix rich goat meat with the acidic tang of dried fruits. You'll need a preserved lemon and ras-el-hanout seasoning which you can get at most bigger supermarkets now. This dish is perfect served with simple couscous with a knob of butter run through it.
Traditionally, this would be cooked in a ceramic tagine with its distinctive chimney lid. But any flameproof casserole dish or deep cast iron pan will do.
- 900g goat meat, bone-in, diced
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp ras-el-hanout spice blend
- 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 chillies, chopped
- 6cm root ginger, grated
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- 175g soft, dried apricots, chopped
- 1 preserved lemon, skin only, chopped
- 75g pistachios, chopped
- 5 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 5 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- 5 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Begin by preparing a marinade for the goat. Combine all the dried spices with half of the vegetable oil.
- Combine with the goat meat and marinate for several hours in the fridge, preferably overnight
- Heat the remaining oil in the deep casserole/cooking pot and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for three minutes
- Add the goat meat and fry until browned on all sides
- Add the tomatoes, honey, and cinnamon stick
- Add 300ml water, bring to a boil and add the chopped preserved lemon and apricots
- Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 45-60 minutes
- When the goat is tender, season the tagine with salt and pepper to taste
- Stir in the fresh herbs and pistachios immediately before serving
Ready to Try Some African Goat Recipes?
From Egypt to South Africa, there are delicious examples of goat meat in almost every African cuisine. These two are just the start. There is zigni from Eritrea, Kenyan curried goat and many more just waiting to be discovered.
At Niyis.co.uk, we are the tropical food experts. We have all those hard-to-find Afro-Caribbean groceries you need to create the dishes you love at home.
Browse our grocery range, and give us a call on +44 1189 757751 if you have any questions.