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 goat stew 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 Picante Recipe (Spicy Goat Meat Stew)
- 2 limes or 1 bitter orange cut into halves
- 4 lb [1.8 kg] of goat meat cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoons of powdered oregano
- 1 red onion cut into quarters
- 2 teaspoons of mashed garlic
- 2 cubanela peppers
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt (or more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 tablespoons of sugar
- 3 cups of water (may need more)
- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 plum tomatoes cut into quarters
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- ¼ cup of rum (optional, see notes)
- ½ scotch bonnet pepper (or 2 jalapeños) finely chopped
- Squeeze the juice of the limes (or bitter oranges on the meat). Scrub the meat and rinse with running water.
- Mix the meat, oregano, onion, garlic, cubanela peppers and a teaspoon of salt. Marinate covered in the fridge for an hour, overnight is better.
- Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pot. Add the sugar.
- Separate the meat from the onions and peppers. Reserve the onions and peppers.
- When the sugar turns brown add the meat. Stir (being careful with splatters) until all the meat has a light brown color.
- Add ½ cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat. Add water in small quantity as it becomes necessary until the meat is very tender (about 35 mins), turning every few minutes to cook uniformly.
- Once the meat is tender add the onions, cilantro, tomato, cubanela and Scotch bonnet peppers.
- Cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender. Add tablespoons of water if it looks like it might burn. Add the tomato sauce and rum. Mix well. Add 2 cups of water and simmer until liquid is reduced to a thin sauce. Season with salt to taste.