Sunday, August 11, 2013

Andy's Annual 4th of July Goat Stew

I know. I can hear you cringing as you read the title. Goat Stew? OMG? Who would eat a goat?

For as many years as I can remember, with the exception of 2012, Andy has fixed a goat stew every single Fourth of July. There are a few traditional dishes that come about after the "Cooking of the Goat" on July 3rd. July 4th breakfast is goat hash and there has to be a pot of stew at the end of the day.

All I can say is, don't knock it until you try it. In the south, I have seen people lined up for a pretty good stretch to purchase a quart of goat stew at a fund-raiser and willing to pay WHATEVER. Word to wise: Bring a quart Mason jar! Let me spare you some shame. It's just common knowledge that if you are buying it "to go" you better come prepared. And let me tell you, I've seen people try to get their hands on several jars to go and it be rationed. That stuff goes fast! If you do happen on a goat stew and see the line I'm talking about,  you can rest assured you'll be eating good. A public goat stew will only be cooked by some fellow from down in the hollow (or similar situation) that's been fixing a cauldron of this stuff since his Grandaddy taught him how. They are legends!
I'm not going to tell you it tastes like chicken. It doesn't. It has its own unique flavor and it's actually pretty good. We were told by one newbie on a 4th of July at the river that they thought they landed in "Redneck hell" when they found out that the breakfast meat was goat. They all laugh and pretty much eat it up.

The amount of stew we make always depends on the size of the goat and how much meat Andy holds back for the goat hash.

In a large pot add:
1 can of carrots
1 chopped onion
2 cans of whole kernel corn ( I used one each of white and yellow)
3 or so diced potatoes
Cooked and shredded goat meat*
Broth the goat was cooked in
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring mixture to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender. Serve with cornbread or hoecakes.

*It's hard to give the exact quantities on the potatoes and goat as this varies every year.

How to Cook A Goat For A Goat Stew

Before we get to enjoy Andy's traditional 4th of July Goat Hash for breakfast and Goat Stew, that goat's got to get bought and cooked.We figured up the cost of the 50 lb. baby goat when I got ready to write this: $75.00 and an extra $20.00 to get it cleaned. I told Andy we could have served up some fancy steaks for the same money. Truly, I wouldn't miss it now as it is a family tradition. Once we get the goat meat back, it gets iced down in a cooler until it's ready to use. That thing isn't going to be resting in my refrigerator! A girl's gotta draw the line somewhere.
In a very large cooking pot, place the goat pieces in, cover up with water and fire up the burner. Once the water comes to a nice, rolling boil, adjust the temperature so that it continues cooking this way and doesn't boil over.
 With a long-handled stainless spoon, periodically remove the fat as it boils up.
Once the fat is removed, add salt and pepper. Let it cook this way until the meat is coming off the bone. It took five and a half hours to cook this goat. Let it cool a little and move the meat chunks to a heavy duty aluminum pan, pull the meat off the bone and remove all fat pieces* and other "extras" to use in a goat stew or any other dish you want.

*Andy, who eats chittlins', is extremely picky when he is going through the meat. It is nothing but pure meat when he's done.

Denise's River Water Concoction

Well, I ran out of the whipped cream vodka necessary to whip up my favorite Whipped Cream Vodka Creamsicles last weekend, so I dug around in the cabinet and came up with something from all of my leftovers.

It was really pretty when I first mixed it (see photo below) and then it turned green...river water green and  hence the name.

In the smaller Tervis tumbler full of ice, mix:
1/2 ounce each of Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps and Blue Curacao
Top with Diet Sunkist Orange

It's not as pretty as the Blue Wave, but it tastes pretty darn good! :-)

And one for the river cruise to catch the beautiful sunset. (This one is pre-mixing...almost like a Sunset)
Here are a few of the sights we took in that evening.

Chelsea's Chinese Feast

Note from Denise: A few weekends ago, I sent a text to Chelsea, whom I work with, showing off a pot of "cabbage and sausage stew" I was fixing for supper that night. She, in turn, sent me a few pictures of the feast she was preparing. I was going nuts wishing I was sitting at her table that night! I asked her if she would mind sharing with all of us and happily she agreed. This post contains everything she prepared that night. What I love about it is the fact that it is all very appealing and fairly easy to put together...and what an impression you can make on your dinner guests!

It's so refreshing to run into a twenty-something foodie!!! If it wasn't for my daughter-in-law Amanda (who has shared some of her goodies with us and who will love all of these foods) and Chelsea I was beginning to give up on finding any young ladies who actually cook anymore...let alone are able to put together a full meal.

I'm impressed and I hope you are too! We will be fixing this feast soon. Be sure to bookmark this page for a one-stop Feast!

Chelsea's Chinese Feast

I recommend fixing the cucumber salad and the egg drop soup the day before. I think it makes it better if it sits for a while and lets all the flavors mix together. In my opinion, it's all just as good (maybe even better) the next day...especially the cucumber salad.

For the stir fried veggies I just bought a pack of "Asian Medley" frozen veggies. Included in the mix were snow peas, broccoli, carrots and baby corn. 

For the edamame, which I served as an appetizer, I just bought a bag of the frozen steamers packages you can prepare in the microwave.

I steamed the edamame after all the other food was almost done and then let it sit while everyone enjoyed edamame and egg drop soup.

Chinese Cucumber Salad

5 pickling cucumbers
2 tsp salt 
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce 
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil (I used olive oil because I didn't have sesame oil)
2 1/2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger (just in a jar)
  1. Cut ends off cucumbers, then cut in half, then lengthwise into strips (about 1/4 of a cucumber each)
  2. Place all the cucumber strips in a strainer then sprinkle lightly with salt. Let sit 30 minutes (This will remove excess water)
  3. Whisk together red wine vinegar, soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, and ginger
  4. Pour the dressing over cucumbers in a sealable container and let it sit four hours or over night

Top left: egg drop soup; top right: edamame and bottom: chicken and steak with rice noodles,
stir fried veggies and fried rice.

Egg Drop Soup

Note from Chelsea...This stuff is sooo yummy and the only recipe I have made before. I usually make it anytime I am sick because it is so easy and you can eat it even if you feel terrible.

4 cups chicken broth
    (I used 5 cups water and 2 chicken bouillon cubes--used 5 cups since some would probably boil off)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 green onion
1/4 tsp salt
1  tbs cornstarch
3 eggs
  1. Reserve 1/2 cup chicken broth and put the rest into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil
  2. Stir in the salt, ginger, and green onion, and bring back to a rolling boil
  3. In a small bowl, stir together remaining broth and cornstarch until smooth
  4. In another small bowl, whisk eggs using a fork. Drizzle the egg a little at a time into the boiling chicken broth mixture
  5. Stir in cornstarch and broth mixture until soup reaches the desired consistency
Note from Chelsea...Sometimes if I don't have cornstarch I cook this recipe without it. It is still just as good. 

Stir Fry Chicken and/or Steak with Rice Noodles

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or chicken breast strips, I used these to make them easier to cut)
1 lb steak tips (like for a stew)
3 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs soy sauce
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
3 tbs sesame oil (once again, I used olive oil)
1 cup water
1 tsp chicken bouillon granule (I used one chicken bouillon cube, crushed)
  1. Place chicken and steak pieces (sliced into cubes) into a Ziploc bag
  2. Add cornstarch, toss to coat
  3. Combine soy sauce, ginger, and minced garlic, add to bag and shake well
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, soften rice noodles in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, then strain and set aside 
  6. In wok (or large skillet), heat 2 tbs oil, then stir fry chicken until no longer pink (3-5) minutes.(I added steak halfway through so it wouldn't be over-cooked.)
  7. Remove chicken and steak, keep warm 
  8. Add water and bouillon to wok, then return chicken and/or steak to pan
  9. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add rice noodles. Mix all ingredients together then serve.
Note from Chelsea...I used chicken and steak but the chicken was MUCH better than the steak so maybe just put the chicken in the recipe.

Fried Rice 

2 green onions, chopped into fine pieces 
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt 
Black pepper, to taste
4 tbs olive oil 
4 cups cold, cooked rice 
1-2 tbs soy sauce
  1. Finely chop green onions 
  2. Lightly beat eggs with salt and pepper
  3. Heat wok (or large skillet), add 2 tbs oil
  4. Add eggs, cook until lightly scrambled. Remove eggs and clean out pan
  5. Add 2 tbs oil, then add rice. Stir fry for a few minutes, using a wooden spoon (or fork) to break it apart.
  6. Stir in soy sauce, as desired
  7. When rice is heated through, add egg. Mix thoroughly.  Stir in onions. Serve hot.

Chelsea Cosby

Smoking Boston Butt on Backyard Pit

Oh yes! There is nothing quite as fun and worthwhile as smoking meat on the pit Andy built in the back yard a few years ago. For a full view of the pit prep and smoking additional meats, visit our July 4th Celebration page.

Smoking Boston Butt on Bubba Keg

There are three ways we prepare a Boston butt. The first is only when we don't have adequate time to be outside, low and slow overnight in the oven (before pit was built), the pit for when we do have time and the Bubba Keg for when time is very limited.

Barbecue Stuffed Baked Sweet Potatoes

What To Do With Leftover BBQ (Barbecue or Barbeque) 

According to Merriam Webster, the origin of Barbecue:
American Spanish barbacoa framework for supporting meat over a fire, probably from Taino
First Known Use: 1709

Around the South, pork barbecue is a staple. Every tiny town has at least one or two pits rolling 24/7 that yield delicious, smoky, succulent pork that has cooked low and slow for hours. In P-town, it's $1.25/sandwich day at the in-town BBQ place on Wednesday and cars are lined up around the building eagerly awaiting the purchase of a sack full of sandwiches covered in meat, mayo, slaw and pickle.

Around the Grisham house, we have to be different. Andy built a pit years ago at his house in the country and he built one here when he moved to town. If you haven't been fortunate enough to enjoy to smell of smoking meat on a pit, you don't know what you're missing, but that is another story.

Anytime we smoke Boston butts on the pit, there are typically some left overs. Sandwiches are great, but after a while, meh. We love baked sweet potatoes and grilled pork chops, so we thought, why not barbecue with baked sweet potatoes? We did, we liked and we have already had a repeat performance.
  1. Bake a sweet potato.  
  2. Warm up the left over barbecue.
  3. Slice baked potato in half and make numerous cross cuts into each half.
  4. Randomly place butter tabs.
  5. Heap barbecue on top.
  6. Drizzle BBQ sauce* on top of meat. 
  7. Top with thinly sliced Vidalia onions, green onions, chives and shredded cheese.
  8. Dig in!
*We have almost replaced Andy's secret recipe BBQ Sauce with Cattleman's Kansas City Style sauce. It's good, has a great kick and it's cheap...$1.58/bottle.