The central Texas town of Brady has staged the World Championship Barbeque Goat Cook-off for more than twenty years on Labor Day weekend. And they know how to cook it correctly, using ten to eighteen pound goats that have been slaughtered at thirty to forty days of age. The older goats eat grass and develop a distinct muttony flavor. They can also be tough. The best time to find young goat is around May. Cabrito is the Spanish word for young goat.
Purists insist that the only traditional way to cook cabrito is to dig a hole in your back yard and burn mesquite wood down to coals. Then you take the skinned cabrito, season it, wrap it in wet burlap bound with wire, and set the meat over the coals. You cover it with dirt to seal in the heat and smoke, and let it cook all day.
Known in the Southwest as cabrito al pastor, barbecued young goat is a spring tradition that can be duplicated in a grill with a spit or in a smoker. The biggest problem is going to be finding a young, tender 12 to 15 pound young goat and you may have to search out butchers, farmers, or Hispanic markets.
These are the famous Peruvian appetizers, sold by street vendors, and grilled to order. The customers just eat the beef right off the stick. Traditionally they are made with beef heart, but we like to use more tender and flavorful cuts of beef, plus chicken. With the highly acidic marinade, you can use tougher cuts if you marinate them longer. The chiles of choice here would be the native ají chiles, but virtually any small, hot fresh chiles can be used. Serve wrapped in a corn or flour tortilla. You can also serve the anticuchos as an entree with escalloped potatoes and green beans. Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.
This is a recipe that requires hot smoke and a lot of it for a short period of time. Instead of 200 degree smoke from your smoker or grill, try for about 400 degrees. Oysters can also be grilled by placing the on the grill over high heat until the shells open, about 6 to 10 minutes, then top with the sauce and serve.
Meaty, slow-cooked beans make an appearance on Latin and Caribbean plates from Little Havana to Little Haiti and everywhere in between. Some are served with rice, some are stewed with every flavorful cut of meat that fits in the pot, as in Brazilian feijoada. What most versions have in common is the richness and smoky flavor of pork. My simplified version uses bacon and ham hocks for loads of flavor with a minimal amount of fuss. Starting with dried beans takes some advance prep, but it is an easy way to achieve authentic results! Note: this recipe requires advance preparation.
This dish is wrapped in banana leaves, which give it a subtle, earthy flavor. Serve the dish with plain corn tamales, fresh corn tortillas or rice. It takes a bit of effort, but it produces enough for a party, so make this dish for a special occasion.
Why wouldn’t the cooks of the prehistoric, ash-covered village of Cerén in El Salvador have developed sauces to serve over meats and vegetables? After all, there is evidence that curry mixtures were in existence thousands of years ago in what is now India, and we have to assume that Native Americans experimented with all available ingredients. Perhaps this mole sauce was served over stewed duck meat, as ducks were one of the domesticated meat sources of the Cerén villagers.
Albuquerque-area resident and vegetarian cookbook author Nanette Blanchard has self-published a booklet of her favorite southwestern plant-based recipes. Fiesta Vegan: 30 Delicious Recipes from New Mexico contains her take on traditional recipes such as Posole, Calabacitas, Sangria, and Capirotada. Each of the recipes includes a color photo and a nutritional analysis. Fiesta Vegan also offers a list of online sources for specialty ingredients and recommendations for New Mexico stops for food-lovers. The 40 page booklet is available either in print or as a .PDF download. You can also find a Kindle version without photos; information on all the booklet versions is on her web site here. Blanchard also maintains a food blog, Cooking in Color.
If you can’t find prepared tostada shells you can simply serve this recipe on top of your favorite brand of tortilla chips. The Spicy Chile Sauce is also a great accompaniment to your favorite scrambled tofu recipe.