Saturday, April 30, 2011

RECIPE - Huntress-style Kid (Cabrito à Caçadora)

One more recipe for kid from Brazil's northeastern region, this time from the state of Pernambuco. Pernambuco is one of Brazil's smaller states, but was one of the first places on the continent settled by Portuguese colonists. Long and narrow, the state has a wide range of topography and climate which vary from the beaches and mangroves of the Atlantic coast to the harsh, stony semi-desert of the interior - the area known as the sertão. The word sertão itself is of obscure origin, but would best be translated into English as "outback". It's most likely that this dish originated there, as the domesticated goat is one of the few farm animals that can survive the difficult conditions of the sertão.

It's strange that this dish, kid braised in a tomato and red wine sauce, would be sub-titled huntress-style , as virtually all of the goats in the sertão are raised in farmyards, and there's little need to hunt them. Perhaps there's a connection to those Italian chicken and meat dishes cooked with a similar sauce called "alla cacciatora", which also means huntress-style. Something for a future doctoral candidate in historical gastronomy to write a thesis about.

Even if you're not a huntress, this dish would make a great way to introduce goat meat into your kitchen. Thickly-sauced and very substantial, it's best served with plain white rice, as they do in Brazil.
RECIPE - Huntress-style Kid (Cabrito à Caçadora) 
Serves 8

4 lbs. (2 kgs.) boneless kid or goat meat, cut into large chunks
salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried oregano
5 bay leaves
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bunch Italian parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 green onions, whole
8 large leaves fresh basil
2 large cooking onions, coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic
1 lb. new potatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 large carrot, cut into thick slices
juice of 2 oranges
2 cups pineapple juice
1 bottle dry red wine
Place all the goat meat in a large mixing bowl. Boil a large quantity of water, and pour over the meat to cover. Let stand a few minutes, then drain, rinse and reserve the meat.

Season the meat with salt and pepper, then put it in a large saucepan with the oregano, mustard, ketchup, bay leaves, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Mix well, then heat over medium high heat. Cook until the meat has taken color and the sauce is thoroughly mixed.

In a blender combine the parsley, the cilantro, the green onion, , the basil, the chopped onions and the garlic with a little water, and blend. Add more water if required to complete the blending. Add this mixture to the ingredients in the sauce pan, stir completely to mix, then cook the mixture, partially covered, over medium low heat for about 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Add the orange and pineapple juices, the wine, the potatoes and carrots and bring it all to a boil. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the meat is very tender, the vegetables are cooked and the sauce has thickened.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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