When Mrs. MM and I lived in Jakarta, we would notice the proliferation of goats on side streets in the days before Eid-al-Adha or the “Festival of Sacrifice”, one of two major Muslim religious holidays. The goats were sacrificed and shared with family and the poor. Traditionally, I gather, it is a sheep that is slaughtered, then a third of the meat is kept by the family, another third is given to relatives, and the final third is given to the poor. That’s about the extent of my limited knowledge on the matter. At any rate, yesterday morning, a Muslim friend asked what we were up to for dinner and we ended up inviting him and his spouse to our home for dinner.
Knowing this should be sort of a holiday meal, but not really having any tradition of celebrating it, we looked around our larder and pantry and ended up with this meal… To start we had a jazzed up baba ghanoush or eggplant dip freshened up with lemon juice, zest and a touch of tahini or sesame paste.
We toasted up some pita triangles to serve with the appetizers…
…which included some FABULOUS freshly brined green olives. An aunt had just returned from Italy a few days ago, and she sent us a little portion of “freshly picked” (though they were transported frozen) green olives. We put them in a salty brine for a few days and they yielded a WONDERFUL snack or pica-pica. We also had bowls of freshly fried chickpeas that we experimented with last week.
For the main course, I made a tagine of goat meat with lots of spices that we cooked for some 3.5 hours until the meat was soft and the sauce a heady and flavorful gravy. I used this recipe with a few alterations and without the fenugreek (couldn’t find any at local stores we scoured before lunch). We also made the makfoul, or the tomato and onion relish to go with the goat.
From an Ottolenghi cookbook called “Jerusalem” Mrs. MM made this surprisingly SPECTACULAR dish of Basmati rice with saffron, pistachios, cranberries (no barberries in sight so we substituted) and herbs. This was a slam-dunk winner, utterly delicious, fragrant and tasty. We also roasted some baby butternut squashes and plated them together with the goat tagine.
Finally, we offered a simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing. We all ate heartily and the goat meat stew and rice were a perfect match. I’ve been on a diet for the past month so this is one of only two times I have had rice during that period, and boy did I eat up! :) For dessert, our guests brought some vanilla ice cream, which we served with the passion fruit coulis I made last week and we laid out large barquillos as well. Overall, a very successful meal that I would definitely make again!