Because alas, I just don’t know where to get goat. And I have a freezer full of beef. But I like goat! Just so that is clear. I do not substitute beef out of squeamishness or anything. I believe goat is the most consumed meat on the planet, and that makes total sense to me as they are hardy creatures who can live on bits of grass growing between rocks. And goat is my kind of meat too, as it is often tough and benefits from slow cooking. But I have never seen it for sale where I live, so I always sub beef.
I chose this curry because I wanted to serve fried plantains at a small dinner party (one other family) we had. So I needed something that went well with fried plantains and this Caribbean stew fit the bill perfectly. I had some trouble finding a good authentic looking (to my admittedly not Caribbean eyes) recipe until I opened Bruce Aidell’s always reliable and absolutely fantastic The Great Meat Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know to Buy and Cook Today’s Meat. I fiddled with the recipe–as always–but the heart of the curry paste came from him. And guys, if you like cooking interesting meals with meat, you absolutely should own this cookbook.
Speaking of the inadequacies of of cooking in rural middle America, we could not find any Caribbean style hot sauce to serve with this curry. I decided that minced habanero peppers would make the best alternative, because no other hot sauce would capture their unique, fruity, almost sweet heat. So that is what you see sprinkled on top of the curry in bright orange: minced habanero peppers. And that is why the round plate, i.e., John’s plate, has way more!
We loved this curry. It went over like gangbusters at the dinner–multiple servings were had, which is always my way of judging such things. It was also fantastic the next day.
- For Caribbean curry paste:
- 1 large bunch of cilantro--stems only, reserve leaves (don't be super picky about it, just cut lower half of bunch off)
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- ½ or more habanero peppers, to heat tolerance
- 3-inch piece of ginger, chopped
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- 5 t curry powder
- ½ t ground cardamom
- ¼ t ground fenugreek seeds
- ½ t brown mustard seeds, ground
- ½ t ground allspice
- ¼ t ground cloves
- 2 t ground cumin
- 2 t ground turmeric
- 3 T fresh lime juice
- 2 t ground annatto seeds (achiote) (sub with paprika if necessary)
- salt to taste
- 14-oz can coconut milk (divided, some will be reserved for curry)
- For the curried stew:
- 3-4 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 2½ medium onions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 15-oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
- 1-2 T brown sugar, to taste
- reserved coconut milk
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized chunks
- 3 sweet bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- For garnish/serving:
- chopped cilantro leaves
- lime wedges
- minced habanero chile peppers or Caribbean style hot sauce
- cooked Basmati rice
- Add the first 15 ingredients to a food processor, blender or wet dry grinder (I used the last). Puree as much as possible--it will be pretty dry at this point. Add abut ¼ cup of the coconut milk to loosen the mixture and allow it to puree completely. Set aside the remainder of the coconut milk.
- When the paste has pureed smooth, add it to a Ziplock bag with the cut up beef chuck. Seal it closed and massage the paste into the beef. Place it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook for 7 minutes, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the beef with all of its marinade. Stir into the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, brown sugar (start with 1 tablespoon) and reserved coconut milk. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Cover tightly and place in the oven. Cook for 2-3 hours (you have some flexibility here, after 2 hours it is probably ready, but it will not dry out in 3 hours).
- Add the sweet potatoes and bell peppers and place back in the oven for another hour.
- Remove the curry from the oven. Skim some of the fat off the surface (but don't drive yourself crazy with it). Taste for additional brown sugar and salt.
- Serve over Basmati rice, sprinkled with chopped cilantro leaves. Include lime wedges and either minced habanero peppers or a Caribbean style hot sauce for your guests to add themselves.
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