Although gaining in popularity, goat is not commonly eaten in the United States. However, worldwide it is the most consumed red meat. It is prized throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Mexico as a flavorful source of lean protein. Goats are grazers, so they can be raised at a relatively low cost. Many point to the negative impact that cattle raising is having on global warming – because cattle consume only grass, large tracts of forest are removed to create grasslands for grazing. On the contrary, goats will consume any vegetation, and are often used as a non-invasive method for clearing brush.
Birria is a preparation of goat often made in central and northern Mexico to be served during celebrations. The whole goat is rubbed with a mixture of dried chiles and spices, and pit-roasted in the ground until juicy and tender. In Jalisco, the drippings are collected to make a broth for a stew. In other regions, the meat is shredded and served in tacos or tortas. Making its first appearance on the menu this evening, we will be serving it in a quesadilla, along with some stewed chile de agua, an heirloom Oaxacan chile grown in our rooftop garden, and huauzontle leaf, a wild amaranth that is tender and mild like lamb’s quarters.