I’ve cooked llama and kangaroo, but never something a little bit closer to home, like goat. I’ve had it quite often, especially when my ex and I were together, favoring a Caribbean restaurant back in Albany that made a killer curry goat. But, in the seven years I’ve been here, I’ve only had it’s milk and cheese. An early dash to the Farmers Market at Deering Oaks changed all of that when I had the chance to pick up some locally raised meat.
And, to give in to a hankering for some richer Mexican food (thanks a lot Zapoteca), I thought I would make a mole, a dish I’ve made a few times before at the old incarnation of my job but never at home. The dish took a while to prepare but the results were well worth it. The goat had a mildness to the meat, similar to veal and took on a lot of the flavors from the mole quite nicely.
For the Mole, I used the Mole Negro recipe that was featured in Saveur this past January. They paired it with a roasted pork loin and I decided to braise some local goat meat
that was shredded from the bones and set overnight in the mole to absorb the flavors. The braise was simple: mirepoix, stock, salt, pepper and goat meat. I didn’t cook them directly together because I worried about the mole thickening up too much.
FOR THE MOLE:
1 large tomatillo, stemmed, rinsed, and quartered
1 small tomato, cored and halved
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 cup corn oil
6 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1⁄2 ripe plantain or banana, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes
1⁄4 cup peanuts, plus more crushed for garnish
1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
1⁄4 cup raisins
2 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
2 oz. Mexican chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 tsp. oregano
1⁄2 tsp. ground canela or cinnamon
1 slice white sandwich bread, toasted and crumbled
Kosher salt, to taste
Grated piloncillo or brown sugar, to taste
6 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
2. Make the mole: Heat oven to broil and position a rack 10″ from the heating element. Toss tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions with 2 tbsp. oil in a bowl and transfer to an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet; broil, turning once with tongs, until soft and well browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer charred vegetables to a large bowl; set aside. Heat oven to 400˚. Transfer chiles to the aluminum foil–lined baking sheet and toast, turning once, until dark and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer toasted chiles to large bowl and cover with 3 cups boiling water; set aside to let soften for 15 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving 1⁄2 cup soaking liquid; set aside.
3. Heat 3⁄4 cup oil in a 3-qt. high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add plantains (or bananas) and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 2 minutes. Add peanuts and sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 3 minutes. Add the raisins, the tomatillo mixture, and the chiles with the reserved soaking liquid, along with the chicken broth, chocolate, oregano, canela, and bread; bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Working in batches, purée the chile mixture in a blender to make a smooth mole.
4. Heat remaining oil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mole and cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and piloncillo; set mole aside and keep warm.
After the mole and goat got to know each other overnight, I quickly fried up 6 corn tortillas in oil, laid down some rice and a good heap of the mole into the center and folded tightly before putting them in an oven proof dish. When I was done rolling all six, I topped with shredded cheddar cheese and cotija and baked in the oven for about 25 minutes.