Local farmers to serve up goat chili to governor

July 14, 2010|by TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • From left, Alice Orzechowski, Danny Rohrer Jr., Natoma "Cookie" Reed-Vargason and Jeanne Dietz-Band have teamed to create a new chili recipe featuring goat meat for the annual Buy Local Cook Out in Annapolis.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer,

If it were up to a contingent of local farmers, political head-butting in Annapolis would relent over a steaming bowl of Head-Buttin' Goat Chili.

Washington County Head-Buttin' Goat Chili is what a group of five county residents plan to serve at Gov. Martin O'Malley's Annapolis mansion Thursday during the annual Buy Local Cook Out.

The invitation-only cookout showcases recipes made from locally grown foods and launches a statewide Buy Local Challenge initiative to get Marylanders to eat local food for a week - a habit local farmers said they hope would stick.

"We're taking something familiar to people, but using goat meat," said Natoma "Cookie" Reed-Vargason of Washington County-based Cookie's Cooking Co.

Reed-Vargason will be the lead chef Thursday. She will be joined by Jeanne Dietz-Band from Many Rocks Farm in Keedysville, provider of the chili's ground goat meat; Danny Rohrer Jr., of Da-Ka-Roh Farm in Boonsboro, provider of the produce; and Alice Orzechowski from Caprikorn Farms in Gapland, provider of the cheddar goat cheese.


Rounding out Thursday's Washington County contingent is Leslie Hart, the Washington County agricultural marketing specialist who solicited for local recipes.

Sue duPont, spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Agriculture, said Washington County's goat chili recipe was among roughly 40 statewide submissions chosen by the governor's chefs in response to the state's call for locally source recipes earlier this year. Only 18 of the recipes - including the goat chili - would be served for the governor, duPont said.

About 250 attendees are expected, duPont said.

All 40 submissions would be featured in an upcoming cookbook, though as of press time duPont said she was unsure of the book's release date.

She said while only the Washington County farmers who collaborated on the goat chili would be cooking their dish for the governor on Thursday, there will be seven Washington County providers featured in the cookbook.

The Washington County team was willing to share its goat chili recipe before heading to the Governor's Mansion. They've also included handy instructions for how to fire-roast the tomatoes and how to make your own oven-baked tortilla chips.

Reed-Vargason said the goat chili recipe spoke from the familiar vernacular of a sneaky-hot chili, except this recipe called for ground goat meat and got a taste twist from a store-bought medley of cocoa, cinnamon and cumin.

Orzechowski said goat meat doesn't taste much different from beef, but because goat meat is leaner it doesn't produce much oil to skim.

But that also means goat meat is prone to drying out. "I tell people you have to cook goat like veal," Orzechowski said. "You have to add fat to it."

While the majority of the items in the chili recipe can be found locally, it does require a few online buys such as eye of the goat beans and Aleppo pepper flakes online.

Head-Buttin' Goat Chili

1 pound eye of the goat beans (see cook's note)
1 to 2 pounds ground goat meat
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 banana peppers or similar peppers, chopped
1 to 2 pounds of roasted tomatoes (see recipe for tomatoes, below)
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 4-ounce can tomato paste
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (see cook's note)
2 teaspoon ancho pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder (see cook's note)
Vegetable stock, if need to adjust consistency
Cayenne pepper to taste
Sharp cheddar goat cheese, shredded, for garnish (see cook's note)
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Small slice of lime, for garnish
Serve with homemade tortilla chips (see recipe for chips below)

Pick over beans and rinse thoroughly in cold water.
Place clean beans in a bowl of fresh cold water, cover and soak for 3 to 8 hours or overnight at room temperature; drain and rinse well.

Or place beans in a saucepan with water and cover, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and soak for 1 1/2 hours. Drain and rinse well.

Cook beans by covering with 2 inches of water, simmering 1 to 2 hours or until tender depending on size of the bean.

Brown meat lightly and drain excess oil.

Saute onion and garlic, and add peppers. Cook until tender, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

Add meat to mixture along with roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar (if needed), chopped tomatoes, seasoning and beans.

Simmer covered for about three hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. The consistency can be adjusted with vegetable stock, depending on your preference.

Garnish with grated goat cheddar cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, small slice of lemon and serve with homemade tortilla chips.

Cook's notes:

o Eye of the goat beans may also be listed as "oja de cabra" and are available online.

o Aleppo pepper flakes are available online.

o For chili powder, the preparers recommend Spicy Hunter Chili Powder.

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