Note: Chef Michael Roberts not only gave readers his philosophy on entertaining in his August party feature, he gave us a great recipe for his version of birria, Mexican goat stew. Here's what he wrote about the dish: "In Mexico, a whole goat is roasted in a pit until tender, then the meat is pulled from the bone and simmered in sauce. I've simplified this method by simmering the goat for seven hours over the coals of a fire. The result is falling-off-the-bone-tender meat infused with the dark flavors of dried chiles. If you've never tasted goat before, this is the perfect introduction to this full-flavored meat. The best way to eat the goat is wrapped in a tortilla with salsa, beans and rice. You can buy one can or jar of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce to get the sauce and the chiles you need for the dish."
Many Latino markets sell goat meat--The Test Kitchen gets its goat at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles.
Serve birria with salsa and plenty of tortillas.
Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 15 1/2 hours
1 (24-ounce) can enchilada sauce
2 cups red wine
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (7-pound) goat leg, cut into 8 large pieces with bone
2 tablespoons lard
2 onions, chopped
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 branches epazote
8 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons prepared adobo sauce
4 to 5 whole chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons salt
3 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
* Combine enchilada sauce, wine, cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Pour over goat, cover and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
* Place lard, 1 onion, ancho chiles and epazote in heavy cast-iron pot or Dutch oven and place on coals of barbecue or bake at 375 degrees until onion is soft but not brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add meat and marinade and enough water to barely cover meat. Add garlic, adobo, chipotle chiles and salt. Cook on just enough coals to maintain slow simmer or bake at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender and falling off bones, 6 to 7 hours. Add water to pot as necessary to keep meat barely covered.
* Combine jalapenos, remaining chopped onion and cilantro in small bowl and serve as accompaniment to goat.
10 to 12 servings. Each of 12 servings: 237 calories; 727 mg sodium; 87 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 31 grams protein; 0.13 gram fiber.