Tocino de Chivo (Salted Goat Meat), a dish (and food preservation process) that was very popular in the pre-refrigeration days and added tons of flavors to one of our favorite meats.
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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.
This method of preparing meat infuses the tocino with flavor and changes its textures, so even after refrigeration came along people kept doing this. The method I use to dry the meat differs from the traditional (it used to be sun-dried), but the end result is nearly identical.
The kitchen was women's dominion in my grandma's days; and in between shucking corn, shelling beans and grinding coffee, girls learned how to survive the tough road ahead of them.
Tocino de Chivo (Salted Goat Meat) Recipe
To preserve meat
- 2 ½ lb [1.13 kg] of goat meat
- ½ cup of coarse sea salt
- 3 tablespoons of sun-dried oregano, , crushed
- 1 tablespoon of freshly cracked pepper
- 2 tablespoons of garlic salt, (optional)
For meat stew
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, , sliced
- 4 large ripe tomatoes, , chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, , crushed
- ½ teaspoon of oregano
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon of cilantro, , chopped
- 1 teaspoon of salt, (or more, to taste)
To preserve meat
- 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.
To de-salt meat
- 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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
Notes and Tips
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