And I am back!
After nearly three weeks of practicing the art of barajar (doing nothing), I don’t really feel relaxed as much as I feel just… lazy. I could get used to this. I cooked a lot, tried a few new recipes (that I will share with you in the future), and spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my daughter.
And speaking of daughters, this tocino de chivo (salted goat meat) is a recipe that has been passed in my family all the way from my great-grandmother.
Well before the internet existed, or people bought cookbooks, girls (and how sad it was nearly always girls), learned how to cook by their mom/grandma/aunt’s sides from a very young age. Not only did girls assist in the kitchen, observing how mami did things, they learned about life and womanhood in between cooking lessons.
Kitchen was women’s dominion; and in between shucking corn, shelling beans and grinding coffee, girls learned how to survive the tough road ahead of them.
Now beans come shelled, corn shucked and coffee ground from the supermarket. Life is so much easier and safer for women, and the kitchen is no longer their exclusive territory. And I am so glad about that. But the time I spend with my daughter in the kitchen is still time for conversations, time to pass the wisdom and recipes of my ancestors to her. I enjoy the talking as much as I love the cooking.
Tocino de chivo (salted goat meat) is a dish (and food preservation process) that was very popular in the pre-refrigeration days. It infuses the meat with flavor and changes its textures, so even after refrigeration came along people kept doing this. The method I use to dry the meat differ from the traditional (it used to be sun-dried), but the end result is nearly identical.
Cooking used to be a family and social affair. This is no longer the case, at least for most people, but we should try to revive the customs of incorporating our family into the process. They will appreciate food more if they had a hand in its preparation.
When I was invited by BonAppetit.com’s new “Out of the Kitchen” series to share the significance of relationship in the kitchen it brought my grandmother’s kitchen to my mind, and my effort to create memories for my own child that reflect my love and respect for food and cooking.
Want to know how to build a successful restaurant? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, a glimpse into the inner workings of two successful restaurants. Meet the back of the house inner circle and see how face-to-face relationships keep customers coming back for more.
- 2 1/2 lb [1.13 kg] of goat meat
- 1/2 cup of coarse sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of sun-dried oregano , crushed
- 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons of garlic salt (optional)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion , sliced
- 4 large ripe tomatoes , chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic , crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of cilantro , chopped
- 1 teaspoon of salt (or more, to taste)
Slice the goat meat as thinly as possible.
Season with the remaining ingredients, mixing well, and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
Remove the meat from the liquid that would have seeped out overnight. Pad dry with a paper towel.
Heat oven to 200 ºF [93 ºC].
Place the meat on a wire rack and dry in the oven until the meat is quite stiff and dry to the touch (it took me about 3 hours).
Cool meat to room temperature and store in a sealed bag in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Rinse meat in running water.
Soak overnight in abundant water (about a gallon [3.8 lt]) in the refrigerator.
Boil in the same water it soaked overnight until the meat is very tender. If you cook it in a pressure cooker it should take 20 minutes. In a conventional pot it should take about an hour, add water if it becomes necessary to maintain the same water level.
Remove the meat from the water (reserve 1 1/2 cup of this water).
Cool to room temperature and shred the meat.
Heat oil in a 2 quart pot [2 lt] over low heat.
Add onions, cook and stir until onions become translucent.
Add meat, cook and stir for a couple of minutes.
Mix in tomatoes, garlic and oregano. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cup of water from boiling the meat.
Cover and simmer for another five minutes.
Taste and add salt to taste if you find it necessary (I did not).
Serve with white rice and slices of avocado.
The same process and recipe can be used with pork.
Since this is a very time-consuming process, I suggest that you double or triple the amount in the first list so you can save the rest of salted meat for another occasion.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bon Appetit. The opinions and text are all mine.