Thanks to a city-wide mini-explosion of goat kati rolls, goat rotis, goat tacos, roast baby goat, and goat ragu, by now, just about everyone knows that those diminutive bearded ruminants taste good–not unpleasantly gamey, but earthy and lean. You can buy goat meat at some Halal and South Asian butcheries, but it’s still not as easy to find as its cousin, lamb. One of the best places to buy it can be found at the Greenmarket.
Check out the the Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday, when Lynnhaven Goat Farm from Pine Bush, New York, sells goat cheese, milk, and cuts of meat from their grass-fed, free-range herd. Lynnhaven also competes in goat shows (check out the fancy guy striking a pose on the farm’s website), and it’s a little disconcerting to wonder if the shoulders, legs, and chops on sale come from animals that just weren’t pretty enough to win Best in Show. They look good in the braising pot, though!
A whole shoulder costs $13 a pound, and weighs in at about two and a half pounds. It’ll feed a crowd. It’s a gorgeous hunk of flesh, with part of the rib cage still attached and lots of connective tissue, so braising is the best way to coax it to tenderness. This recipe, for milk-roasted (really braised) goat ragu, worked wonderfully, and is highly recommended. Because the Lynnhaven goat shoulder will be slightly older and bigger than the one called for in the recipe, increase the braising ingredients by 50 percent, and braise it for about 3 hours, rather than one hour, 40 minutes. Despite the fact that you’ll want to start the recipe the day before you serve it, to let the flavors develop, it’s a very simple dish in terms of active work, and fills the house with warm, good smells on a cold day.