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Recipe: "African Goatloaf 1.0" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Recipe: "African Goatloaf 1.0"
Today we made African Goatloaf and Honey Beans and Corn Porridge. Everyone agreed that it was very good, but the goatloaf would benefit from some tweaking. I have noted changes to try below the recipe proper.


"African Goatloaf 1.0"


Ingredients:
1 cup Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuit crumbs
1 egg
1 cup whole milk
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red salt
1 teaspoon harissa spice blend
1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder
1/4 cup parsley flakes
2 pounds ground goat


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a large loaf pan with cooking spray; I use an olive oil spray.

Crush enough Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits to make 1 cup of crumbs. To do this, put a handful at a time into a large freezer bag, seal it, and run a rolling pin back and forth over the crackers. Periodically shake them down and break up large pieces with your fingers. It usually takes me about three rounds to get good crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to the measuring cup and make more until you have enough. If you leave them in the bag or try to do them all at once then the mass makes it too difficult to get crumbs of similar size. Set aside.

Chop 1/2 sweet onion into small pieces. Set aside.

Crack an egg into a large shallow bowl. Add 1 cup of whole milk. Pour in the crumbs and the chopped onion. Add 1/2 teaspoon red salt, 1 teaspoon harissa spice blend, 1/2 teaspoon roasted coriander powder, and 1/4 cup parsley flakes. Put in 2 pounds of ground goat meat.

Use your hands to mix the meatloaf. Pull apart the ground meat into little tufts. Reach underneath to bring up the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl. Squeeze the dough with your thumbs toward the center of the bowl and fingers toward the outside. As you rotate the bowl, the dough will form a chunky ring. Squash it toward the center and turn over parts of it. Repeat until the dough forms a relatively smooth paste. Press it into a lump. Roll it over in the bowl, pressing again, to help it stick together into a loaf shape.

Scoop your hands under the meatloaf and carefully transfer it to the loaf pan. Wash your hands. Then put the meatloaf into the oven.

Cook at 350ºF for 45 minutes. When done, the juice bubbling around the top edge should be clear to golden, and poking a knife into the meatloaf should show no pink inside. Serves 6-8.


Notes:

Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits make a terrific filler for meatloaf using any robust flavor of meat. Due to their "woven" structure, they also break down quite easily. They are high in fiber, and for a processed ingredient, not too full of junk. If you can't find these, substitute plain Triscuits with 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and a splash of olive oil.
For future reference, the meatloaf came out very soft so add more crumbs, perhaps another 1/2 cup.

Eggs provide a binder to hold the meatloaf together, along with fat and protein.
Next time, add a second egg.

Milk breaks down the crumbs and helps everything meld together. If you don't have whole milk, use 1/2 cup half-and-half and 1/2 cup water, which is what I usually do.

This really needed a sweet onion, but the store was out. I substituted a red onion, and it was way too strong. Also the pieces were too big so they didn't cook down much.
Next time, use a sweet onion and dice it smaller. Consider sautéing or caramelizing the onion before adding it to the meatloaf.

Harissa is a spice blend used in North Africa and the Middle East. You can buy it or make your own. I'm using Spicely Organic Harissa Seasoning, which is the flaky kind. Some other places sell powder or paste versions. You can use the powder to make paste. For meatloaf, you want the flaky kind. This has chili flakes, parsley, garlic, caraway, and coriander. I wanted the meatloaf flavorful but not hot, and this is a hot spice blend. So I used it sparingly and added more of some ingredients. If you want to make yours milder, then reduce the harissa and increase the mild components to dilute it a little, rather than just reducing it. To make it hotter, use pure harissa, add more chili powder or chopped African chiles, and/or top with a hot sauce like some people top a meatloaf with ketchup.
Next time, add 1/2 teaspoon caraway.

Roasted coriander powder is more smoky and savory, less tangy and fruity than raw coriander. If you don't have any, you can either toast whole coriander seeds and crush them, or just use the raw powder.

Dried parsley flakes provide a green note that balances the red meat. You can use substantial quantities of it in a meatloaf.

Goat meat is very flavorful and healthy. For this kind of recipe, try to get genuine adult goat meat (chevon, older than one year) not kid meat (cabrito, typically 3-6 months, but up to a year). If you use kid meat -- which is what a lot of American places sell if they have any at all -- it won't stand up well to robust African spicing. If you buy from an African grocery store, you will quite probably get adult goat. If you buy from a farmer, you can just ask. Preferably, you want an animal at least a year old, and several years old is better. A retired milking doe is perfect, but some people raise meat goats longer than others. Save the kid for more delicate recipes where adult goat would overwhelm the spices.

Add some red palm oil next time. Because it's good and it's African.

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