This is a guest post by Diana Rodgers of Sustainable Dish.
I’m a farmer and paleo nutritionist, and my friend Chris has generously offered to let me tell you about why I love goats. In my latest book, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook, I provide over 100 seasonal recipes and also provide a complete guide to how healthy food is produced. The following is an excerpt from the chapter on goats, including a recipe so you can give goat a try:
More than 80 percent of the world’s goats live in Asia and Africa. Although goat meat is a fundamental protein for many across the globe, Americans generally only keep goats for their milk—their meat is seen as too pungent, and with the wide availability of other meats here, goat is not considered a delicacy.
A Little Goat History
About 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, people in the Near East began keeping small herds of goats for their milk and meat. Goats also played several roles in ancient religions: depictions of many gods, such as the Greek god Pan, show them in goat forms; the Jewish practice of designating a goat to bear the sins of the people on Yom Kippur led to the term “scapegoat”; and goats were often used in religious sacrifice. Over time, goats have become smaller than their wild ancestors, and their horns have also shrunk. However, they have kept their natural curiosity, vitality, and gumption, which endear them to us humans.
#Goat is a nutrient dense and delicious protein source. Try it in this Indian Stew recipe from @SustainableDish
Goat Milk and Meat Nutrition
Goat milk is naturally homogenized because it does not contain agglutinin, the compound in cow milk that enables the fat globules to rise to the top—so goat milk won’t separate. It also contains less lactose than cow milk, so those with problems digesting lactose may have an easier time digesting goat milk.
Goat milk tastes different from cow milk and is particularly good for making cheese. Some breeds produce a more musky-tasting milk, and if there is a buck around, the milk may have a stronger taste. In general, the fresher the milk, the sweeter the taste. We did a taste test with our kids, and they almost always preferred goat milk to cow milk.
Goat meat is low in calories and fat—it doesn’t marble like beef does—and high in protein and iron. Meat from a relatively young goat is quite tasty, though the cuts can contain more bones than lamb cuts. I generally make stews and curries with goat meat, and I use the bones for added flavor. Smoked goat leg is also fantastic. I tend to avoid meat from bucks (male goats), as the flavor is quite strong. If you’d like to try goat meat and aren’t ready to raise it yourself, try seeking out a butcher that caters to Middle Eastern or Caribbean customers.
Goats as a Sustainable Meat Source
Goats haven’t really entered the industrial meat scene, so CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) goats are not that common. Goats prefer weeds over grass and clover, leaving those for sheep and cows. They also love to graze in ditches, climb trees, and generally do a great job at cleaning up the brushy areas on the edge of our farm. Because goats are quite happy on relatively marginal land, means they are not competing with humans for valuable crop production space, leaving more land for vegetable production.
In summary, if you’re interested in eating meat that is not part of the large, industrial food chain, that tastes fantastic and is also healthy for you, consider getting some goat. If you have a little space and would like to try raising your own goats, or just want to learn more about them, check out my new book, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. It contains over 100 seasonal, farm-to-table recipes, plus a complete guide to growing your own food. Even if you don’t live on a 50-acre ranch, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in learning more about how healthy food is produced. I’ve also included fun sections on camping, crafts, and other tips like 10 questions to ask your farmer so that you are a better-informed consumer.
Recipe from The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook
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Indian Lamb Stew with Spinach
Serves 4 to 6
Also called Indian spinach, Malabar is a succulent type of vine-growing spinach that is easy to grow and very unique. It’s widely used in India and Africa as a leafy vegetable added to soups and stews. I love to use it in this stew, but you can substitute standard spinach, or even chard or kale. Sometimes, greens can get lost in a stew, so sautéing them with a little garlic and adding them at the end when they are still bright and flavorful is a fun twist. This curry-style stew is lovely with a dollop of whole-milk yogurt on top. It’s a perfect dish for a cool fall night.
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 2 pounds lamb or goat stew meat
- 2 cups diced white or yellow onions
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1½ cups diced tomatoes (or canned if tomato season has passed)
- 2 teaspoons red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
For the topping:
- ½ pound Malabar spinach or regular spinach
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice of ½ lime
- 4 to 6 tablespoons whole-milk yogurt or crème fraîche (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 275°F.
- In a large Dutch oven, warm the ghee over medium heat.
- Add the lamb and sauté until browned on all sides.
- Add the onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chili powder, salt, turmeric, and jalapeño and continue cooking for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft.
- Add enough water to just cover the meat.
- Cover the pot and place in the oven for 3 hours.
- Remove from the oven and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Set aside.
- To make the topping, slice the spinach into ¼-inch-wide strips.
- Heat the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and greens and sauté for just a few minutes, until bright green. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
- To serve, ladle a serving of the stew into a bowl. Top with some of the sautéed greens and, if you wish, a tablespoon of yogurt.
Note: You can substitute beef stew meat in this recipe, if you wish.
Whole 30: Omit the optional dairy.
AIP: Substitute canned pumpkin for the tomatoes and omit the chili powder and jalapeño. Use coconut oil instead of ghee.
Diana Rodgers is a farmer, paleo nutritionist, and multimedia producer. She is the author of Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts On the Go, and also produces videos on sustainable agriculture issues plus The Modern Farm Girls Podcast. She can be found at www.sustainabledish.com.
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Nice article. Just want to add that in-spite of all the good about Goat milk, it is not a substitute for cow milk for vegetarians as goat milk is very low in Vitamin B12.
Recipe sounds awesome! And as Michelle, I too have had goat curry….very good. But, it’s something that is off-putting to some, unless you were raised on it. It takes some time to get used to, but try it several different ways. 🙂
Great article. Curry goat is something that I eat on a regular basis. Tastes awesome
Great post. Love healthy foods. All natural foods are good for you. The key is to have enough variation in your diet. 😉
I made this recipe for dinner, using beef instead of lamb/goat, coconut oil instead of ghee, canned pumpkin instead of tomatoes, and I omitted the jalapeño pepper because the rest of my family doesn’t like ‘hot’ all that much. It was great! Thanks for posting this recipe.
Does Diana sell goat at her farm? No local farmers sell it where I live, however, I would love to add it to my diet! I am all for new foods.
Yes, I sell goat at my farm! We’re building a farm stand and when we have goat available (we don’t have it all the time) it will be for sale there. http://www.clarkfarmcarlisle.com
This is so great to know! Thank you for the heads up
Goat whey is great. It has less protein than standard whey but since I switched it has improved my energy. Do you count whey as a part of the healthy goat experience?
BTW, that is not a very cute pic. Goats are brimming w personality, they take much better pics than that! 🙂
Yay!!! Thanks for shining a light onto this wonderful food source, which most of the world enjoys but is looked upon wearily in the USA. We too raise pastured goats and sheep, and actually prefer our goat meat. They are such phenomenal converters of “sub par” forage to meat and have great personalities too! It gives our family great satisfaction to convert sunlight into sustenance, and in a way that produces happy, healthy, satisfied animals. Thanks for the recipe. It looks delicious. I will definitely be trying it!
Excellent article on goat meat.
The cute picture of the goat made it very off-putting.
I finally was able to try some goat meat this past September that was raised by a lady farmer I already purchase other things from. It was better tasting then I ever imagined it could be! I would describe it as a cross somewhere between beef and lamb. I find lamb more gamey, and goat to be a richer, warmer tasting meat, but not strong at all. Neutered males (wethers) under a yr old make mild eating.
When chance to buy a live pasteured organic animal for a very good price came up in December I jumped on the chance!! With the help of a couple friends we ‘processed’ it together, and by watching youtube videos of lamb being butchered into the various cuts I leaned to cut it up myself.
I did find some pieces tender enough I could cut up to cook quickly in a frying pan rather then stewed.
There are fewer cuts on a goat then a lamb because they are leaner animals. About 20 less yield from an animal of the same weight so this is part of what makes the finished meat more expensive then lamb in North America. (our animal was about 84lb live and yielded only @30 lbs hanging before cut and trim, which takes off more weight in bones tough cartilage trim etc.) If I have the option available, I would rather buy goat meat or work a way to raise our own, instead of most or all our yearly lamb. That is no small thing, as we have an unbelievably good priced, clean, organic source of lamb. (about 4$ less per lb on prices in our area for a whole animal, at $6 to $7 a lb, all cut and wrapped)
I like goat meat and love goat cheeses, especially feta and chevre. I buy goat meat occasionally from Belcampo, a local ranch to table producer that is raises almost almost exclusively grass-fed/pastured/organic meat and game. However I do find the goat milk and yogurt that is locally available in stores a bit too watery and tangy (although I love sheep yogurt). Perhaps direct from a local small producer would taste different.
I’ve also tried goat liver (and sheep liver) and they are much more pungent/gamey than cow IMO.
When I was in Jamaica, the most abundantly served animal proteins were goat and rock shrimp.
I’ve tried goat meat, and found it very lean and tough. It might be suitable for stews or ground with fat added to it, but by itself, I’d skip it.
I raise dairy goats for milk and for years sold the wethers cheap. I then realized I had fully grass fed meat in front of me. My husband and I had 1 butchered first in case we didn’t like it. We had it ground. It was amazing. It is drier since it doesn’t marble. But I just add some kinda fat to help with moisture. Ex: my homemade goat cheese. We have now butchered 5 with 3 more to go and new ones will be born soon and I’ll b keeping the males for meat. Will b trying roast, steaks and stew meat with the final
3. It does taste and cook better slow and not well done. Please try it again. Make sure u r getting a wether under a year old or at most slightly over a year. Wish I had all of the ones I practically gave away back.
Hello. Thanx for this recipe. How would mutton go with that? I love mutton and its easy available where we live in Hungary (Eastern Europe) where we have a small holding and produce our own organic food for the last 11 years away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
Interesting article! And thanks for the recipe.
For the recipe, in the off season I’d probably use tomatoes in a glass jar in lieu of canned, such as the Jovial or Bionature brands. And I’d need to leave out spinach, since it’s extremely high in oxalates even after cooking, and use another tender green that’s low such as arugula.
Great article but if I send my wife the link and she sees the cute picture of goat she will never cook goat.
@Stephen Vajda, you should send to you wife also pictures of cute cows, chicken, pigs and plants and she may reconsider 🙂
By the way, where do we buy goat meat?