Friday Rap

(An oldie but goodie reprint for a friend who wanted my jerk goat recipe...originally posted on Wonderfully Wino...12/29/08)

I got one of those dinner invitations the other day, that start me salivating like Pavlov’s dogs, as soon as I hear my friend’s voice on the phone. My girlfriend (friend, not lover) has Jamaican roots. Her voice still carries the island lilt, even though she’s lived in America for many years.

She speaks and it reminds me of days spent in the sun, watching the ocean gently lick the white sandy shores of her home. She invited me over for dinner, as payment for sprucing up her resume. She said she’d cook whatever I wanted already knowing what I was going to say before I said it. We had a good laugh about her clairvoyance. We ended with her reminding me as always, to choose the wine, and to surprise her.

I knew I was going to be treated to some jerk goat and rice with a Guiness beer mixed into fresh carrot juice on the side. My favorite of favorite Jamaican food. I had to add a good merlot because it was her favorite and we would drink that while she finished preparation and served. All I had to do was sit, drink, listen and eat. She talks enough for both us.

The surprise that she asked for, would be a hearty California Red Zinfandel, a perfect complement to the sorta spicy meat on the table.

I would go so far as to say that red zin is the California signature wine. However, the grapes are not native to the state. Zinfandel grapes originally came from Italy. The same grapes are used to make both the red and white zinfandel varieties. While white zinfandel is actually pink, the red is almost black in color. It has a spicy taste, kind of peppery and fruity at the same time. It’s a wine that really goes well with burgers and pizza.

The price range is big, from pretty cheap to way too expensive. Since it’s red, I guess most people drink it at room temperature. However, my wine mentor, the man who taught me about wines and in fact owned a vineyard in Spain, told me that Zin should be consumed at 65-degrees. That’s warmer than chilled, but cooler than room temp, usually. My old friend kept his wine refrig in the living room within easy reach.

Jerk Goat is an easy prep, but it does take awhile. Sometimes you have to tenderize the meat for a day before cooking. My friend’s recipe follows below for those feeling adventurous. It really is wonderful. She serves the meat with white rice, but you health conscious folks can substitute brown, it’s okay.

The Guiness and carrot juice...well make sure the carrot is freshly juiced. This drink absolutely does not work with canned carrot juice or carrot juice that is more than a half hour past juicing. In Jamaica, it is even sweetened with brown sugar or honey. I like the brown sugar version, but its really not necessary if the carrot juice is fresh. Add a sprig of mint for a kick, if you will.

Jerk Goat Preparation
1 ½ cup onion, finely chopped
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2tablespoons dried leaves)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground pimiento (allspice)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 very hot pepper, chopped,
or teaspoon hot pepper oil
1 leg of goat with bone in

Mix or puree together the onions, garlic, soy sauce, and spices to form a paste. Pierce the leg of goat all over and rub the paste all over the meat. Any unused paste (also known as "jerk rub" can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to a month for later use). Cover or wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight to allow spices to penetrate meat.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Sear the meat loosely covered with foil in a roasting pan at 400 F for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F. Roast meat for another hour or two depending on weight until the internal temperature reaches 150 to 160 F. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking
If you use a tougher cut such as a neck roast for cooking, plan on a longer cooking time and on marinating the meat in a mixture of beer and lemon juice overnight. Put the jerk rub on it in the morning and then cook in the afternoon. Enjoy!

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