It goes without saying that we have all tasted oven roasted-goat in many diverse and successful versions. I assure you, however, that you have never tasted the dish at its best before, and I would bet on that! This is my friend Lina’s recipe for gourmet boned goat―a delightful extravagance that she prepares only for her friends, and only when she is in a amazing cooking mood. She loves cooking it sooooo much that the dish is always (but always) perfect, and I refuse to compete with her. Nor do I want to, as there is no reason to do so. I simply sit and enjoy the food. It is so absolutely perfect that I actually bow to her with respect!
During the 20+ years of our friendship, I most vividly remember the taste of Lina’s goat from three years ago, when I was going through a phase of nearly falling into the nadir of despair. On my birthday, Lina gathered our friends together and proffered this magical delight, which gave us the necessary push to kick-start―with love―the assurance we need to start gazing upwards at the open sky –even on a cloudy day.
I must have eaten the contents of half the pan (back then), but was excused because of the day (and noone tried to stop me). The combination of food and friendship was so complete that it worked like a stimulant, creating a lasting and secure emotional cocoon that protected me against any possible threat. No matter what was happening or crumbling, it was a combat-ready support, like millions of white blood cells, or millions of glittering shields!
Completely by chance, I am writing these lines during the last days of the year. The recipe was ready earlier, but something was always coming up, and I couldn’t finish it, but now I feel like sharing with you my feeling of incredible luck in having this kind of friends. In the name of Zeus, I’m truly grateful!
So I herein pass on the most magical recipe for oven-roasted goat and potatoes with a single comment and a word of advice: it takes a positive attitude and a good mood to make this dish. Do not just carry out the instructions or make this food half-heartedly. My friend Lina exhausts all limits of excitement and determination during all stages of its preparation, from choosing the goat, which has to be young and of excellent quality, to developing an erotic relationship with it. She touches the meat all over with love, massages it (I’m not kidding) and (I presume) the obliging goat gives its best, because with all that love it receives it doesn’t want to disappoint her!
Roast leg of goat, boned
Preparation: 30 minutes, plus 20-30 minutes to bone the meat (it depends on how skillful you are) and 4-4½ hours for cooking. An easy, but not quick recipe, but well worth the trouble. Appetite and diligence are essential for the success and presentation of the dish. Note that even though the dish can be made with lamb, my friend never substitutes it for goat! You may reduce the quantity of the “massage oil” a little, but not a lot, as this is not a light dish! You might also be tempted to add water during cooking, but don’t do so. The meat won’t stick to the roasting pan, so there is no need.
Ingredients (serves 6)
3 legs of baby goat (3-3.5 kg overall)
for the massage oil
200 ml olive oil
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp pepper
½ tbsp oregano
4 garlic clove, without the green germ, two crushed and 2 cut in slices
150 ml dry white wine
1 onion, cut in oblong slices
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves only
1.5 kg potatoes, peeled and diced into 2.5 cm cubes
juice of 1 lemon, 1 orange and 1 tangerine
extra salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 160oC.
To prepare the legs of goat: Wash thoroughly the meat and trim the fat except the fat of the skin. Pat dry with kitchen paper, check for any stray hairs left, pull them out and put the legs in the baking pan. Mix all the ingredients of the massage oil in a bowl and rub the mixture thoroughly all over the meat for about 10 minutes. Make small slits into the flesh (5-6 per leg) with a sharp knife and press slices of garlic down into the slits.
Add the potatoes into the baking pan and pour over the remaining massage oil, wine, crushed garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place the onion slices between the potatoes. Wink at the pan and roast in the preheated oven.
To bone the legs of goat: After 1½ hour of roasting remove the pan from the oven and with a boning knife or a small, sharp, sturdy knife cut along the central bone of every leg, scrape the meat, and pull the bone away. Be careful not to separate the meat into pieces smaller than single servings.
Note: Boning is relatively easy if done with a boning knife or a sharp, sturdy knife and a big fork, carefully and with no rush. Where there are smaller bones, you need to be more careful not to separate it into pieces smaller than single servings, but even if you end up with some small pieces, place them next to the bigger ones; when well roasted and crispy at the end, those small pieces are the best bites, the ones that everyone prefers.
Roasting: Place the boned leg of goat back to the pan, taste meat and potatoes and, if needed, season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat at 150oC and continue roasting for another 2 hours, pouring pan sauce over the meat every half an hour. After 2-2½ hours pour over meat and potatoes the lemon, orange and tangerine juice and roast another 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven, cover well with aluminum foil and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. If ready prior to serving time, leave the pan covered in the oven at 70-80oC.
To serve: Place boned goat, potatoes and sauce on a warm (depending on the season) platter or serving plates. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy –and do let me know if this is the best goat you ever tasted.