The Year of the Goat
The stunningly beautiful Xinjiang province in northwest China borders many central Asian countries such as India, Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Muslim communities like the Uighur, who hail from that part of China, have seen their most traditional recipes grow in popularity over the last 10 years. Most notable among them is the cumin-crusted lamb racks, bellies and shoulders that form the basis for so much of the best food from that part of the world. I love the taste of this lamb dish but recently started making it with goat, a meat that I have been championing for almost 20 years now. Enjoy.
Cumin-Crusted Goat Leg
- 1 whole bone-in goat leg, roughly 5 pounds (aitch bone removed)
- Several pounds new potatoes, young onions, carrots
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 bunch scallions, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup whole cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons crushed dried hot red whole chiles
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh minced ginger (I use my Microplane)
Make 12 to 16 slits in the goat leg with a paring knife.
In a mixing bowl, combine the minced scallions, cumin, cumin seeds, sea salt, dried red chiles, soy sauce, peanut oil, brown sugar, black vinegar, sesame oil and minced ginger.
Divide this seasoning mix in half. Take half of the seasoning mix and rub very well onto both sides of the goat leg, pressing into all the nooks and crannies, using your fingers to push some seasoning into the cuts you made with your knife. Place the goat leg in a large roasting pan, and let rest in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours. Let sit at room temp for an hour before cooking.
Clean and season the potato mixture with salt and a whisper of vegetable oil. Place the vegetables in the roasting pan around the goat leg.
Roast for one hour in a preheated 325-degree oven. After an hour, rub the top of the goat leg with the remaining half of the seasoning mix. Raise the temperature to 400 and cook for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Let meat rest for 15 minutes and serve.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.