Braised goat shoulder


I had some pasture-raised goat from a small farm in Maine and decided to improvise this recipe, with a couple hints from online sources. It’s as tasty as the photo suggests.

3 lbs bone-in goat shoulder, whole
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 small carrots – 3 diced, 3 cut into 2-inch chunks
1 yellow onion – half chopped, half cut into thirds
3 tbs olive oil
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup veal demiglace
1 1/2 tsp allspice berries, pulverized in a mortar
1 tbs juniper berries, whole
fresh thyme – a teaspoon or two of leaves and a few whole sprigs
a pinch of smoked paprika or pimentón de la vera
more salt and pepper

Ensure that you have an ovenproof pot capable of holding the whole shoulder. An enameled Le Creuset-type pot works well for the purpose.

Preheat your oven to 250F. If you have an oven thermometer, use it to check the heat since ovens are frequently off or variable at this low temperature.

Salt the shoulder generously all over and grind fresh pepper over it.

Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat until warm. Saute the onions and carrots until translucent. Remove from pot with slotted spoon.

Increase heat to high and brown pork shoulder all over, holding with tongs if there are sides that won’t sit on their own.

Remove pork and deglaze pot with wine, scraping up all the brown bits with your spoon. Reduce heat to medium-high, add demiglace and stir into the juices until it more or less melts into them. Now put the cooked onions and carrots back in, along with all the other ingredients except the pork, and stir well. Add the pork with the meaty side down (bony side up – press it to test which is which), and cover with water (it’s fine if parts of it stick out). Add some more salt and freshly ground pepper and stir well. Increase heat to high and bring to a _near_ boil.

Place in oven with the lid ajar (important!), and cook for 3-4 hours. KEEP THAT LID AJAR! Check occasionally to ensure that the liquid is simmering, not inert and not boiling. You may turn the meat occasionally if you wish, but keep in mind that opening the oven lowers the temperature each time. Most likely the goat will take 4 hours to become tender.

Remove from oven. The meat should be easily pulled from the bone with a fork. If not, cook longer.

Remove pork from pot and cover with foil. Strain sauce, reserving carrots, onions and juniper berries. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce to about 3/4 cup to a cup max. It should be rich, dark and glossy.

Shred meat, leaving some on the bones for the gnawers, and serve with reserved vegetables plus the sauce in a gravy boat – or just pour it over the goat.