Lorna Yee Spices Up Summer Tacos

Our resident gourmand looks to a gamier meat to spice up a summer time favorite.

Braised goat

Lorna Yee spices up summer tacos with roasted corn salsa and tender, flavorful goat meat.

WHAT IT IS: Goat meat is a lean red meat that has a flavor ranging from mild to gamey, depending on the goat’s diet (goats finished on grass yield a gamier flavor). A staple in Asia, South America and Africa, this formerly “niche” meat is slowly gaining favor in America and Europe. Goat meat is probably best cooked slowly over low heat—like in braises, stews and curries—because its leanness renders it easy to dry out when cooked over high heat.  

HOW I DISCOVERED IT: I first had goat meat years ago at a famed nouveau Indian restaurant in Vancouver called Vij’s. Their Rajasthani-style curried goat was absolutely addictive, with the gaminess of the meat nicely accented by the range of complementary spices. Since then, I’ve seen goat meat pop up occasionally at local farmers’ markets around town and have started stewing this flavorful meat at home.

HOW TO USE IT: For a summer cookout, try this month’s recipe, braised goat tacos with roasted corn salsa. In the fall and winter, goat meat is ideal in warming stews—just substitute an equal amount for beef in your go-to recipe. Goat meat also makes excellent sausages and jerky, if you’re inclined to experiment at home.

WHERE TO FIND IT: You can find goat meat (and goat milk!) from Quilceda Farms every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ballard Farmers Market.
RECIPE: Lorna Yee’s Summer Tacos with Roasted Corn Salsa and Braised Goat
Serves 6
2 pounds goat shoulder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 bay leaves
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the corn salsa:
4 ears of corn, roasted, kernels removed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 avocados, diced
½ cup cilantro, chopped finely
Juice of 3 limes
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To serve:
Warmed tortillas
Sour cream
Wedges of lime
Grilled or pickled red onions
For the braised goat:
Season the goat meat generously with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the goat meat to the pot and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes each side.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot and cover with a lid. Bring the liquid to a boil on high heat, then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the goat meat to braise until tender, about 2½ hours.
Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the corn salsa in a large mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors combine.
After 2½ hours, remove the bay leaves, carrots, celery and onion from the braised meat. Shred the meat with a fork. Pile the meat onto warmed tortillas and top with the roasted corn salsa, sour cream, grilled or pickled red onions and a squeeze of lime.