Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nigerian Goat Stew

     The spices that are in this stew are not what you may picture as being stew spices.  Cloves, bay leaf, mild hot peppers, ginger, garlic, black pepper and lemon are used to flavor this Nigerian goat stew.  This stew has an unusual exotic flavor that is truly delicious!
     Goat meat is a little bit stronger in flavor than lamb or mutton.  The spices and lemon help to tame the flavor of the goat meat.  Some recipes for this Nigerian goat stew do call for minced goat meat.  Rib section pieces or other bone scraps with the meat attached are often used to make this stew.  It is enjoyable to nibble the meat off of the bones, just like nibbling on stewed oxtail meat.  The bones add a rich flavor to the stew.
     Peanuts are native to South America, but so many peanuts are grown in Africa, one would believe that peanuts are a native African plant.  Peanuts were one of the first plants introduced during the colombian exchange.  Peanuts are used in many great African recipes.  A mixture of peanut butter and flour is used to thicken the stew after it is done simmering.  A few months ago, I posted a Filipino Oxtail Stew (Kari Kari) recipe that had peanut butter added late in the stewing process.  a few recent Ethiopian recipes that I posted also had peanut butter in the recipe.  Peanuts or peanut butter add plenty of nutritional value to a stew.
     Many chefs who are not from Africa only offer the curry spiced African entrees.  Curry spices are popular world wide.  I worked with a French chef in a small cafe who had lived in Senegal.  It seemed like the only African food that he offered as a special du jour in that cafe was African curry recipes.  I asked the chef if there was any African recipes that did not have curry spices in them.  The chef blatantly said that he did not like the other stuff.  That chef was no fun to work with!
     I have a strange taste for the exotic in life, so I spent some time researching African cuisine in libraries.  I was amazed at the different styles and flavor combinations of traditional African regional cuisine.  I learned that there was much more to African cuisine than just curry recipes.  After leaving that cafe to work elsewhere, I successfully sold a few African entrees at other restaurants as specials du jour.  The African food appealed to customers who were tired of eating the same old food offerings from day to day.  The African food specials were popular at an English Pub where I was the chef for a couple of years.  English customers like to chat about foreign lands that the British occupied, when a special du jour like an African stew is served.
     Many African stews are very thick.  Ethiopian stews are eaten with injera bread between fingers, so they have to be thick.  Many French chefs and American chefs demand that all stews must have a thin sauce.  Stews are not a one size fits all item and many international stews are traditionally made very rich and thick.  Nigerian goat stew is rich and thick!    
     In Las Vegas, there are many great African restaurants and markets.  I have had some great dinners at Las Vegas Nigerian and Ethiopian restaurants.  African food is very comfortable food to eat.  The flavors of good African food are delicious and exotic!
     Nigerian Goat Stew Recipe:
     This recipe makes 1 large portion!  Cook 1 portion of plain basmati rice some time later in this recipe, just before serving the stew.
     Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 3 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add about 6 to 8 ounces of bite size chunks of goat rib meat with the bones attached.
     Add about 3 to 5 ounces of bite size goat neck bone meat, without any bones attached.
     Saute till the meat evenly browns.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/2 cup of sliced carrot.
     Add 1 chopped green onion.
     Add 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Saute the vegetables, till they are less than halfway cooked.
     Add enough beef broth to cover the meat in the sauce pot.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add seven cloves.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of mild red serrano chile powder (Chinese chile powder).
     Bring the stew to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Gently simmer the stew till the goat meat becomes tender and till the broth is reduced by almost half.  (Do not cover the pot while stewing!)
     Towards the end of stewing, stir the goat stew and try to remove all seven of the cloves and the bay leaf.  (Do not worry if you miss a few cloves.  They usually cook soft enough to be palatable.)
     Mix 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter with 2 tablespoons of flour in a bowl.
     Note:  Only a portion of the peanut butter paste is needed to thicken the stew, so do not make too much of this paste.  Save any extra for another recipe.
     Add a little bit of the peanut butter and flour paste at a time to the stew while stirring, till the stew thickens to a medium consistency.
     Simmer and stir the stew for a few minutes.
     Remove any bones that have no meat attached to them before serving.
     Use a ring mold to place some cooked white rice on a shallow plate.
     Ladle the goat stew onto the plate around the rice.
     Garnish the stew with a parsley sprig and a lemon slice.
     The flavor of this Nigerian goat stew is like no other stew.  The spice mixture sets this stew apart from the rest.  The goat meat is very tender and some of the meat will fall off of the bones.  The goat meat does not have strong flavor after stewing.  The vegetables are very tender after stewing and the onions literally melt into the gravy.
     This recipe is comfortably spicy hot.  If you would like the stew to be mildly spicy, then add less hot chile powder or only add a half of a jalapeno pepper.  This is a very nice tasting Nigerian goat stew!


  1. I'm going to try cooking this for a school project!

  2. I'm going to cook this for a school project!