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Goat Soup with Dumplings

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I didn't know what the goat meat tastes like until I made a refreshing Saturday morning trip to Blood Farm in West Groton, MA, and cooked the goat meat soup for the first time in my life. I was hoping to get fresh meat, but it was frozen, I should have asked to keep it fresh for me in advance. Who knew? Next time I will. This place was kindly revealed to me by the hosts of Inn at the Cross Roads blog, and I am ever so grateful for that. Now I know yet another place to get good local food.

When the meat was thawed, it smelled so fresh, like the meat we used to buy at an open farmers market in Russia where merchants brought it fresh from the countryside. Contrary to what I expected, the meat didn't have a strong smell as mutton/lamb would, and it was very lean (only a small 1" blob of white fat was floating on the surface of the broth), even young lamb is usually much more fatty. So I had to change the recipe that I had in mind, to go well with goat meat.

I used parts of meat with bones, necessary for a good broth. The broth was simmering for a long time to acquire a concentrated aroma similar to beef (or maybe veal) and a beautiful amber color (the unpeeled onion contributed to this). It's better to make the broth the day before, in the evening when you just have to check once in a while and do other things. A good broth is your guarantee for a good soup! That's what I did, and the next day the soup was made, rich with most tender meat I've ever tried.
What you need:
This soup (and my trip to the Blood Farm) was inspired by the post from Inn at the Crossroads blog.

1 1/4 lb goat meat with bones
8-10 cups of filtered water
1 yellow onion, whole with peel(for the broth)
1 bay leaf
10 black pepper corns
1 small carrot, grated
1 Italian pepper (or 1/2 yellow bell pepper), diced
1 yellow onion, diced
 4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium tomato, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
Pinch of cumin
Ground cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 egg
2 Tbsp water
7-8 Tbsp flour
Chopped parsley and chives to garnish

Cooking time (broth): about 3.5 hours or until meat is almost falling off the bones
Cooking time (soup): 30 minutes
Feeds 4 people

Cook the broth the day before you plan to make the soup.
I didn't ask, but looks like shoulder parts.
Rinse the meat, barely cover with filtered water, bring to boil. When you see a lot of foam, discard the water, rinse meat again with cold water, rinse the pot, put meat back in the pot, cover with 6-8 cups of filtered water and put back on heat. I adopted this method from my Jewish friend Larisa, it allows you to make the clearest perfect broth.

When it starts to boil again, reduce heat to simmer, skim the remaining foam, add unpeeled (but rinsed and checked for quality) onion, black pepper corns. Continue to simmer for about one hour, then add salt to taste and continue simmering. If a lot of water evaporates add some more boiling water. When the meat is almost done, add a bay leaf. Cook until meat is falling off the bones. That's where I stopped the day before.

The next day, warm up your broth, fish out all meat and bones, set aside. Pour the broth in another pot through a fine sieve to get rid of possible bone chips. Now you are ready to make your soup.

1. Saute onion and carrot in butter until caramelized. At the end add garlic, switch off the heat,and let it sweat for some time.

2. Put the broth on high heat, prepare the batter for the dumplings. Rapidly mix flour, egg and water in a bowl (a small mug works best) until even (takes 2 minutes or less). When the water starts boiling, scoop about 1/2 tea spoon of batter and dump it in boiling broth. This way scoop out all your batter.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add peppers and tomato to the soup, let it simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add sauteed carrots with onion and garlic, and spices, let simmer for another 5 minutes or so.

5. Finger through the meat and remove all bones, tear or cut meat into 1" pieces.

6. Add meat to the soup. At this point I also tossed in some chopped Italian parsley. Check for salt, add more if desired, remove from the heat, let brew for 5-10 minutes.

7. Meanwhile prepare garlicky toasts from rye bread (or any bread you can have with soup). Peel one big clove of garlic, cut it across, rub on the edges of hot toasts, sprinkle with coarse salt (sea salt would be best of course).

When serving, add more chopped parsley, chives and any greens you like. Though not what I had pictured in my mind, the goat soup with dumplings was very tasty, it was what you would call a hearty meal, and the meat was literally melting in your mouth. This is a perfect soup for dieters and people suffering from fat phobia. :) We don't have it, but still enjoyed our goat soup with dumplings to the last spoon.

If you have nowhere to go for goat meat, no worry. Lamb will do too, just make sure to buy meat with bones. Cook the broth the day before, chill overnight. In the morning you can collect and discard all solidified fat from the surface of the broth if you wish. To me, throwing this fat away is a waste of a valuable product, I would use it to saute vegetables for the soup.