Chivo Guisado Picante (Spicy Goat Meat Stew) is a recipe from the Northwest of the Dominican Republic where goats are said to feed on wild oregano.
I have to admit that goat meat is not popular -- or even well-known -- in the Western World (1). I am not sure what the cause might be, perhaps goat meat does not lend itself to the type of economy of scale that is possible with beef.
In the Caribbean, however, this is not the case: goat meat is a popular choice, a special treat even. In the Dominican Republic, the Northwestern region is well-known for its famous dish: Chivo Liniero Guisado Picante (a curried goat dish), a spicy stew of tender and flavorful goat meat.
Goat meat in Dominican cuisine
Goat meat is a national delicacy, but some regions of the country are famous for their production and preparation. In the Dominican Republic, the northwestern region is well known for its most famous dish: Chivo Liniero, a spicy stew of fragrant goat meat and full of flavor.
The local legend is that goats feed on the wild oregano that grows in the hills of the area and the meat is infused with the flavors of oregano while the goat walks and breathes. How convenient!
And before any of you complain about it, I have to say that goat meat is also popular in the southwest of the country.
Goats are common in and around Azua, to the southwest of the country, which has a climate and vegetation very similar to those of Montecristi. And to recognize it, I also show it with the tasty Chenchén from this region.
About this recipe
If I have learned something during my Montecristeña years, it is that there are no two people who have the same spicy goat meat recipes and that each one has a trick to cook goat meat stew that he swears is essential for a decent guiso de chivo. It is almost a matter of family pride.
I come from a family of farmers, my grandparents raised goats, and I grew up watching my mother cook it. We know what to make with goat meat (have you tried "cecina de chivo"?). This recipe I share is my family's, but it is not the best, nor the only one. There is no "best", everyone has their own ideas of what makes the perfect goat stew. The secret of this culinary delight --aside from good goat meat-- is Dominican wild oregano, and the fierce hot Scotch bonnet peppers (or habaneros, if that's what you have).
So if you want the original, The Best Chivo Guisado in the World® (I may be exaggerating, but only a little), travel to Montecristi, home of the goats raised in the hills, pre-seasoned, and full of flavor, and eat it there, by the sea.
This recipe is a good next option.
Chivo Guisado [+ Video] (Spicy Goat Meat Stew)
- 2 limes or 1 bitter orange cut into halves
- 4 lb of bone-in goat meat, [1.8 kg] --or 2 lb [0.9 kg] of boneless meat-- cut into small pieces
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1½ teaspoons of powdered oregano
- 2 tablespoons of mashed garlic
- 1½ teaspoons of salt, (or more, to taste)
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 2 cubanela peppers, chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 cup of red wine, or a ¼ cup of rum (optional, see notes)
- ½ scotch bonnet pepper, (or 2 habaneros) finely chopped
- Parsley, or cilantro to garnish
- Rinsing meat: Add the juice of the limes (or bitter oranges on the meat). Stir to coat all the meat. Let it rest for 15 mins.Pour a liter of water on the meat, rinse it, and discard all the liquid.
- Seasoning meat: Add the onion, oregano, garlic, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine. Marinate covered in the fridge for an hour, overnight is better.
- Browning meat: Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pot over high heat. Add just the meat to the oil (set aside onions and juices released by the meat in the marinade).The meat will release some liquid when heated, cook and stir until all the liquid has evaporated, and the meat is browned.
- Simmering: Add 2 tablespoons of water, lower heat to medium-low, stir and cover. Every 5 minutes add water and stir, cover again and repeat until the meat is very tender (30 to 60 minutes, depending on the quality of the meat.
- Cooking vegetables: Once the meat is tender add the onions (and meat juices), tomato, and cubanela.Cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked-through (5 minutes).
- Making sauce: Pour in the tomato sauce, stir to combine.Add wine and 1½ cups of water. Simmer and reduce to a thick sauce. Season with salt to taste if you find it necessary.d simmer until liquid is reduced to a thin sauce.