Friday, 20 June 2014

World Cup Food Challenge: Ecuador - Goat Stew

Here we go with my third recipe for the World Cup Food Challenge.  Having convinced myself that Ecuador would not progress from the group stage of the world cup, I wanted to find a recipe that would do them justice, something typically Ecuadorian.  Then I found this recipe for Goat Stew.  I love goat and jump at any opportunity to eat it.  This stems from the fact that I love lamb but Z can't stand it.  She'll happily eat goat though so as a lamb substitute goat does just fine.

Learning from my previous timing disasters, which came about due to not reading my Honduran recipe correctly, I double and triple checked the ingredients list and cooking instructions for the stew.  There were a couple of ingredients that I couldn't get hold of however.  Aji peruano powder was a chilli too far, even for Spice Corner on Kirkstall Market.  I substituted with Kashmiri chilli powder as it was meant to be mild.  The second ingredient I was struggling with proved more tricky to replace.

The recipe calls for a cup of frozen naranjilla/lulo pulp.  Nope I've never heard of it either.  It turns out the naranjilla is not quite a tomato, not really an orange, and not readily available in the shops of Leeds.  I had sent Z on many a wild goose chase during the Olympic Food Challenge but this was a goose too far.  But then the food gods smiled on us.

While taking a well earned break from hunting down obscure fruits, Z stopped for lunch at Casa Colombiana in the Grand Arcade.  She was sharing some empanadas with R.  She bought a coffee
for herself and a bottle of fruit juice for R.  It was only when she opened the bottle of juice that she realised that she hadn't bought orange juice but had inadvertently bought naranjilla juice.  I'd been expecting a flavour somewhere between rhubarb and lime, but Z and Marta (the owner of Casa Colombiana) decided that lychee or kiwi fruit would be suitable substitutes for the recipe.

The final ingredient to source was beer.  I'm told that the big brand Ecuadorian beer is Pilsener, but nowhere in South Leeds seems to stock it.  I did manage to get hold of Modelo, my favourite Mexican beer.  With all three of my substitutes used it was time to get cooking.

The goat, having spent twenty four hours in a bath of beer, was browned off while a red onion, red pepper, three garlic cloves, parsley, and coriander were puréed.  Once browned the meat was set aside so the vegetable mixture could be cooked along with a mixture of puréed tomatoes and kiwi fruit.  The goat was then added back to the pan along with the reserved beer marinade and spices, and cooked for two hours.

Sporting clichés aside, the substitutes did me proud.  The beer worked its magic on the goat, acting as a tenderiser before the cooking began.  The Kashmiri chilli was warming and not too spicy which balanced the extra punchy heat from cayenne pepper.  But the star of the show was the kiwi fruit.  Along with the cup of pulp that was added at the start of the cooking I added a couple of chopped kiwis ten minutes before serving.  The sweet sourness of the kiwis cut through the heat of the stew wonderfully.

I'm not sure if Ecuador will emerge from Group E.  They are in second place with one game to play but their final game is against France who have scored eight goals in their first two matches.  If we do say goodbye to Ecuador at this point at least I have discovered a new family favourite.

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