Delicacies of the Dalmatian Hinterland – goat and goat kid meat

What are we talking about? About meat, but not just any kind of meat. While people just love suckling pigs or lamb and there’s always a heated debate as to what’s better, one kind of high-quality meat is almost forgotten. Goat and goat kid meat used to be prepared as much as lamb, but as time passed by their breeding has been reduced so it’s really hard to find them included in menus.

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Being a guardian of meat delicacies, to this very day the Dalmatian Hinterland remains a part of Croatia where you can try the best goat kid meat, and restaurant owners claim you can hardly find a foodie who can tell the difference between lamb and goat kid meat if they’re prepared properly. There are truly very few goat meat recipes because the meat possesses a very intense scent and flavour. Despite this, there is one recipe that’s prepared. Dried goat meat is yet another product made by drying in the bora wind. The meat first has to cured, then it’s left to dry in smoke and bora. Dried goat meat is most commonly prepared with sauerkraut or beans. It’s well-advised to cook the goat meat several times prior to using it in stews in order to tone down the meat’s strong flavour.

Unlike goat meat, goat kid meat has a mild taste and is of exceptional quality. Goat kid meat is known to be very healthy because it’s considerably less fatty than lamb and it’s best to be prepared in spring. Goat kid meat preparation is most often pretty simple. In order to accentuate the meat’s quality as much as possible, basic ingredients and roasting techniques are used. So the next time you head to have some good lamb be sure to remember to try something new.

Preparing meat to ancient recipes is no mean feat if you’re a professional chef. It takes years of experience to roast quality meat so that it tastes to die for. Family restaurant Žganjer in Jaškovo near Ozalj is widely known for the best meat, which is no accident given that they run their own slaughterhouse and obtain the best goat and goat kid meat in their area and beyond. When preparing spit-roasted goat kid meat, the most important thing is to roast the meat right after it has been slaughtered. It also needs to be served hot immediately after it has been roasted. While preparing spit-roasted goat kid meat, restaurant owner Ivan Žganjer shared with us how he cherishes his family’s pride.

Much like with other roasts, the goat kid meat is prepared in a stone oven and we use only beech wood because it doesn’t give out too much smoke. The goat kid should weigh up to 15 kilograms. Spring is the best time to prepare them because they get a particular kind of smell and flavour in autumn due to mating. The goat kid is roasted for about half hour and no other spices are added to the meat aside from salt. When it comes to the fat, the goat kid has enough fat of its own and it’s actually preferable that it’s roasted in its own juices. Once the meat is done, we serve it with spring onions, tomatoes, silverskin onions, salads with dressings and baked potatoes.

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Culinary classics of the Dalmatian Hinterland have been preserved in meat dishes that were often prepared on fire. Time brings about a lot of changes. When it comes to the very best delicacies, the best thing is to stick to what you know. Peka (Baking dishes under the lid is the traditional way of preparing food in this area, and the food is actually half-baked, half-cooked in its own juices ) truly is a dish that has managed to endure all sorts of culinary revolutions. Restaurant Atrium is located near Krka National Park and right next to Šibenik. They prepare the very best ingredients of their area to recipes that have been passed on for generations and they’re doing a perfect job. Restaurant manager Krešimir Čogelja shared the scents of peka with us.

It extremely important to be on good terms with the local butchers in order to prepare this traditional dish because freshly slaughtered goat kid meat is put in the peka. Under no circumstances should the meat be kept in chambers or refrigerators prior to preparation. The butcher’s shops we work closely with deliver the meat directly to us and then we immediately put it in the peka. We usually add meat of a live weight of up to twenty kilograms, which amounts to about ten kilograms. We use the front shoulder, ribs and neck for the peka. It’s extremely important that the meat is roasted in one piece and that it’s sliced only when it’s done so that it wouldn’t dry out. You just need to salt the meat to prepare it in peka. Aside from the meat, we also add potatoes, carrots, onions, rosemary and white wine made from local varieties Debit and Maraština to the peka.

We continued discovering the culinary treasures of the Dalmatian Hinterland. Family tavern Vinko in Konjevrate in the Šibenik hinterland is a foodies’ paradise for those who appreciate cooking based on several generations of family tradition. Great-grandfather Tomek Krnić opened an ošteria (an inn) in 1911 where the tavern is located today. The fourth generation of the family is proudly following in his footsteps. In addition to roasts, goat kid meat was prepared in all kinds of stews and one of them is prepared today. Restaurant owner and head chef Vinko Krnić prepares goat kid meat with peas.

When it comes to the ingredients, you need three kilograms of goat kid meat, a kilogram of peas, 750 grams of onion, a kilogramme of tomatoes, four cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of tomato paste, two to three laurel leaves, a fresh rosemary branch, salt, two decilitres of Debit or Maraština. Put the chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil. When they’ve fried for a while, we add the ripe tomatoes and tomato paste. When this turns into a nice sauce, we add chunks of goat meat. We usually take the loin and the leg. The loin is good because you want to cook a piece of meat with bones, while we dice the leg. We also add rosemary, salt and water to the meat. Then we add some wine and everything is then cooked for about thirty to forty minutes. We add the peas in the end and everything is cooked together until the peas soften. Given that this dish is eaten with a spoon, it’s paramount that it’s not thick once it’s done.  

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