Marinating is an effective way to add flavour, moisture and to tenderize meat before cooking. I do this with all the large pieces of meat that are going to be slow cooked. Even steak, pork fillets and some fish get a short session of marinade, even if it is just a splash or rubbing of extra virgin olive oil with seasoning, garlic and/or herbs. For most of my large pieces of meat, I often use an acid , like, wine, citrus juice or vinegar. This component of the marinade helps to tenderise the meat. The herbs and spices enhance the flavour. Good olive oil has a multi-purpose function. It adds a distinct taste, melds the different flavours of the marinade together and, after the meat is drained from the marinade , some of the oil that has adhered to the meat assists in the browning process.
For this braise, I bought 3 legs of kid (capretto) and deboned it. This amounted to roughly 1.5 kg. The same marinade can be used for goat, lamb or sheep and would also be good for beef.
There were four of us for dinner and there were some leftovers that I converted into a Sardinian-flavoured sauce for gnochetti by adding a few, common Sardinian ingredients.
1.5 kg of kid, cubed
Marinade: 750g (1bottle) of red wine,1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, herbs – bay leaves, rosemary, sage, thyme, juniper berries
Leave meat in marinade for about 8 hours.
The meat is drained from the marinade before browning and braising.
For the soffritto: 1 onion, 2 carrots,1 stick of celery, all finely chopped.
Stock is added during cooking to ensure that the meat remains moist.
Pancetta or speck, about 50g bought as a whole piece and cut into small cubes,
extra virgin olive oil to brown the meat,
salt to taste,
fresh herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries (as above) to replace the spent herbs and flavourings from the marinade.
Make the marinade, add the cubed pieces of meat and leave it to marinate for 8 hours.
When ready to cook, drain the meat, save the marinade and remove all of the herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries.
Use a heavy based saucepan for cooking.
Brown the meat, a little at a time. Do not overcrowd the meat. Remove the meat and set aside.
Sauté the pancetta or speck in extra virgin olive oil.
Add the onion first and stir it around the hot pan to soften. Next, add the carrots and celery and slowly sauté the ingredients. This is the soffritto.
Add the browned meat.
Add the marinade, fresh herbs, seasoning and flavourings. Add some stock during the cooking process as the meat dries out. I added about 1 cup of stock. It is always easy to evaporate excess liquid at the end of cooking rather than cooking meat in too little liquid.
Cover the pan and braise slowly.
The meat I cooked must have been quite tender because it cooked in two hours.
Remove the meat and evaporate some of the liquid.
I presented the meat with braised Brussel sprouts, sautéd mushrooms and roasted, squashed potatoes. Baked polenta would have been good too.
What did I do with the leftovers?
Lamb and goat are often used in Sardinian dishes.
For the Sardinian style pasta, I sautéd a little onion in some olive oil, a added some saffron that had been soaking in stock, a little tomato paste and the meat with its leftover juices.
I used gnocchetti sardi – shaped pasta. I added shards of pecorino cheese when I presented the pasta and emulated Sardinian ingredients and flavours .
Other kid or goat recipes:
RAGU` DI CAPRETTO – Goat/ kid ragout as a dressing for pasta
RICETTE per capretto (e capra) – Recipes for slow cooked kid and goat