Capretto al Forno/Oven Roasted Baby Goat

  • Serves 6
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 1/2 pounds goat or baby goat meat cubes, from the thigh or shoulder, about 1 ½ inches each
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • ½ pound yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 sundried sweet peppers from Senise, finely diced (See Where to Buy Guide.) or other dried peppers, if desired

Recipe from The Al Tiramisu Restaurant Cookbook

The rugged terrain of Basilicata and Calabria makes the area well-suited to goat grazing, and the tender, tasty meat of baby goats, or kids, from the area is especially valued. What makes the meat so flavorful is due partly to the physiology of goats—they can stand two meters high on their hind legs—allowing them to eat the wide variety of herbs and tree leaves in the wooded areas.

My attachment to this dish is deep, dating back to my childhood when I herded our goats. Sometimes I lost track of them and to gather the herd I held out a branch of a hornbeam or ash tree, whose leaves they loved. The goats smelled it and came running toward me, making it easy to do a head count.

This dish also evokes spring celebrations like Easter and weddings, which always included roasted baby goat on the menu. Its festive quality is one reason why I placed this recipe on my “Beauty of Basilicata” menu at the James Beard Foundation (page 264). The dish was unexpected and very well received. With its health benefits and the greater availability of goat meat in this country, I expect to see goat meat on more and more menus.

I love this dish for its simplicity and unparalleled flavor. But keep in mind that with just a few ingredients as the main protagonists, they must be of superior quality.

Preparation

  1. In a large glass baking dish, place the goat cubes, garlic, onion, rosemary, and thyme.
  2. Mix well to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one-half hour, or overnight.
  3. When meat has marinated, preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  4. Add a tablespoon of salt to the meat, drizzle with olive oil, and mix well with the potatoes to combine. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to 350˚F. Add the sundried sweet peppers and mix well.
  6. Roast, uncovered, until meat is tender and potatoes are cooked through and golden, about 20 minutes.

Italian Cooking Primer

This same cooking method can be used for beef or lamb with optimal results. Carrots and parsnips also make great additions or substitutions for the potatoes.

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