Curried goat is considered to be one of the national dishes of Jamaica, joining ackee and saltfish, among others. We are not told in the books whether James Bond ever has a meal of curried goat, but we know that it made a regular appearance at Ian Fleming’s Jamaican home, Goldeneye. Violet, Ian Fleming’s cook and housekeeper at the house, told Fleming’s biographer John Pearson that ‘the Commander’ loved shrimps, all sorts of fish, black crab soup, lobsters and guavas and stewed goat. Noël Coward recalls that when he rented the house for a time, his meals gradually changed from sumptuous dinners to a diet of saltfish and ackee or curried goat.
Having managed to procure some diced goat from a specialist retailer, I decided to make a curry of it – Caribbean style. For my recipe (and authenticity), I turned to Poppy Cannon’s chapter on food in Ian Fleming Introduces Jamaica (1965), where instructions for curried goat are given. The recipe calls for ‘curry powder’, but I wanted something more specific to the region. I had to hand a jar of ‘Calypso: Trinidad curry mix’ made by Go Spice, and so naturally I used that. (For anyone who’s interested, this spice blend comprises coriander, turmeric, allspice, cumin, chives, aniseed, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, parsley, thyme, and habanero.) The diced goat was on the bone, which gives the dish a better flavour and look.
- 1kg diced goat, preferably on the bone
- 1 large onion, peeled and sliced into rings
- 1 tsp Caribbean curry powder
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 1 tsp herbes de Province
- 1 bay leaf, finely chopped
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tsp herbes de Province
- 500 ml vegetable or meat stock (I happened to use miso)
- Pinch each of salt and black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, or:
- Dash or two of hot pepper sauce
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large saucepan or large and deep frying pan over a high flame. Brown the meat in the pan, stirring occasionally, then remove the meat to a bowl. Lower the heat to medium, then add the onions and cook gently, again stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened.
Return the meat and any juices to the pan, stir, then add the curry powder, vinegar, cayenne, and coconut. Mix well, then pour in the stock and add the herbs, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let everything simmer gently for at least an hour, ideally one-and-a-half hours or even two, if time permits. Give the dish a stir from time to time.
Serve with rice. If wished, sprinkle some chilli over the top or add a dash of hot pepper sauce.