While we use the same ingredients and for the most part cook similar dishes, you’ll find that as you travel across the West Indies the technique we employ on each island differs. That is exactly the case with one of the most famous dishes coming out of the Caribbean, Curry Goat. A curry goat from Trinidad and Tobago will most certainly be different than one from Grenada and just as unique as one done in a Guyanese or Haitian home. I’ve shared several methods of cooking curry goat so far, but it seems we’ve not had a go at a Jamaican version, until now.
2 1/2 lbs goat
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 small onions (or 1 large)
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
1 1/2 – 2 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoon veg oil
5 sprigs thyme
2 scallions (chopped)
1 bay leaf (optional)
8 allspice berries (aka pimento berries)
3 cups water
3 medium potatoes
IMPORTANT! If doing this recipe gluten free, kindly go through the entire list of ingredients to ensure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the curry powder you use as it may contain flour as a filler. Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after handling such hot peppers.
I’d recommend using goat meat with bones as you’ll get much more flavor (and cheaper) than with boneless goat. Have your butcher cut the pieces for you as you’ll need a saw to cut through the bones. Wash the meat with water and the juice of a lime or lemon (not mentioned in the ingredient list), drain and get ready to season.
With the goat meat (washed) in a large bowl, go in with the salt, onion, scotch bonnet (I used a habanero..any hot pepper will work) and the curry powder. Give it a good stir (feel free to add a bit of olive oil to the marinade if you wish) and set it in the fridge to marinate overnight or at least 2 hours.
Heat the oil in a wide/heavy pan (one with a lid) on medium heat and add the pieces of marinated goat. Stir well and try to sear the pieces, while infusing that lovely curry base. Don’t cover the pot at this point. After about 5 minutes, it’s time to add the all the other ingredients except the water. Give everything a good mix in the pot Add the water to the bowl you seasoned the goat in and mix it around to pick up any remaining marinade.
Pour in the water, raise the heat to high, then as it comes to a boil reduce to a gentle simmer and cover the pot. Allow this to cook slowly for 1 1/2 hrs. The goal is to get it tender.
If you find that you’re running out of liquid in the pot you can always add a cup or two of hot water. It’s now time to add the potato (1/4) and tuck in under the liquid. Give another 30 minutes or so to fully cook.
By now you should have tender goat, thick gravy and soft pieces of potato. Taste for salt and adjust to your liking. I try not to play around much with the pot after adding the potatoes as I like them maintaining their shape and texture. BUT.. should you want to thicken your gravy even more, you can crush a couple pieces with the back of your spoon. Depending on how old the goat was (when it was butchered) the 2 hours of cooking time will be enough to have the meat falling off the bones (but that’s not always the case). The potato not only adds a lovely texture and taste to this curry goat, but it’s a great way to stretch 2 1/2 lbs of meat. As you turn off the stove you can top with some chopped parsley or cilantro as I did. Keep in mind that as it cools the gravy will thicken up a bit.
Feel free to add garlic, a stick of cinnamon and/or a bay leaf while cooking for even more unique flavor. If you’re familiar with how curry goat is cooked on the islands, you’ll identify the slight differences of this Jamaican curry goat recipe. Feel free to use lamb/ mutton instead of the goat for similar results.