Monday, July 25, 2011

What Happens When You Pop A Goat?

Don't you love it when ideas just pop into your head? Me too. I live in hope that maybe one day the next paperclip idea will hit me like a ton of freshly minted hundered (southern for hundred) dollar bills. I read that in the late 1800's the head of the patent office resigned because, he said; "Everything that can be invented, has been invented!" Obviously, he wasn't the visionary one would expect to head the 'office of new ideas'. I can understand not foreseeing the computer during his time, but how could he not have anticipated Nutella, Cheeze Whiz, or Spinner Rims?

One great idea I ran across recently was an initiative in the food blogosphere called Goaterie. Based on the book Goat:Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, it was started by Rachel at La Fuji Mama and Barb at Creative-Culinary, and is an initiative to raise awareness of, and promote all things goat. It's an open invitation to create posts about recipes using goat and then link them all together. It doesn't matter if it uses meat, milk, or cheese, as long as it's from a goat.

I'm an avid hunter, and love exotic and wild game, so I immediately got on board with this wonderful idea. I had visions of Roasted Goat, Goat Jerky, and Goat Stroganoff, but, like a possum run over by a dump truck, my big city dreams were smashed by small town reality. You guessed it, Nobody sells goat meat in my area. I found one goat farmer nearby, but he only sells 'on the hoof', and isn't available when you try to hook up. I really wanted goat meat; for my own pleasure, and because I figured most people  would choose the cheese or milk options first (I have absolutely no justification for this assumption).  Despite my roadblocks, however, I was determined not to miss this great project all together, and started on plan B.

Obviously, you now realize my choices were down to cheese and milk (my readers are smarter than the average South Carolinian), so I went with the heartier of the two. Yes, goat cheese (you really are smart!) Now, if you've been a reader or twitter follower long, you know that I love appetizers as much as goats love grass, kids love candy, and Smokin Hot Wife loves....well, you know! So, I immediately focused my efforts in that direction. Since I was also hungry at the time, I needed something I could make now, not a future project.  Suddenly, as if being head butted by a billy goat, I remembered the profusion of Jalapeno peppers languishing in the garden and crying out to be used in a worthy manner. Jalapeno Poppers de Chevre! Yes, Perfect! 

I rushed to the fridge like a Nascar fan running to a Budweiser, and was happier than one who still has all his teeth, when I discovered several leftovers that would take my appetizer revelation over the top. There before me, so many of my faves; Pancetta, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Shrimp (oh yeah), and the star attraction, Goat Cheese. 

Once the plan was in place, it went together quick and turned out better than I had hoped for. I made the filling out of  cream cheese (a mild, creamy binder), parmesan (a salty compliment), fried pancetta bits (bacon makes everything better), chives (a garlicky onion touch) and several shrimp chopped small (for some meaty ooomph and texture). After each Jalapeno half was filled with this mixture, I topped each one with a slice of tangy goat cheese and a strip of sweet basil for contrast, sprinkled with paprika, and baked to yummy perfection. (Adding the goat cheese separately allows people who don't care for goat cheese to remove it and still have a tasty treat treat without diminishing the tangy delight for us goat lovers) .

Jalapeno Poppers de Chevre
6 Jalapeno Peppers
3 oz cream chz
2 TBSP shredded Parmesan
2 TBSP Pancetta pieces-fried crisp
2 Fresh chives-chopped
4 med cooked shrimp chopped
1 sweet basil leaf

Tip: after cutting peppers in half, use a serrated grapefruit spoon to remove the core and seeds. use gloves if you're overly sensitive to spicy things.

After baking at 375 F for 13-15 minutes, allow to cool several minutes, then enjoy! The range of flavors and textures in every bite is wonderful. First is the spicy kick from the jalapeno immediately mellowed by the creamy filling. Almost simultaneously, you experience the unmistakable and longed for tanginess of the Chevre. Interspersed are heavenly surprises of crisp, salty Pancetta, and meaty shrimp. What's not to love?

So, what happens when you pop a goat? You're welcome to try it and find out. I may be from South Carolina, but I'm not that stupid! I bet that really gets your goat, don't it? :-)


  1. You kill me Alan! I'd love these Goat Pops. Yum! :)

  2. Holy Jesus! These look sooo good and seriously, you are such a funny blogger! So, thing about me and Jalapeno Poppers: I never eat the pepper, just the filling! Sooo, these would be perfect! I like that the shrimp is chopped, so the texture isn't all there (cause we know @nella22 doesn't do large shrimp texture!)...Seriously love this! And you are so lucky to have peppers in your garden! :)

  3. You are funny...and clever. Glad to see it was this...I sort of imagined you smacking the poor goat! If it were a bit cooler, I would offer to ship some to you...but that will most definitely have to wait. Great Post.

  4. These are GENIUS! I'm having a total "duh" moment! I'm sitting here thinking, "Now why didn't I think of that?!?" Those are the best ideas, right? The simple and "obvious" ones. I can't wait to try these. I'm doing a whole big goat dinner for my dad this coming Sunday as a belated birthday gift, and these might just show up on the menu. :)

  5. Yes. I would like these. Right now! For breakfast!!

  6. You had me scared. But wow, I'd pop 'em, no problem.

  7. I'm with Michelle! For breakfast! I shall substitute prawns with okra due to allergies =). Jalapeno is probably my favorite pepper!

  8. I second Annapet: okra in my poppers please! No allergies here, just supporting the #okrateam :P love your contribution to the Goaterie project, you have such great ideas and fun posts! Would love to see u cooking with okra some day ;)

  9. LOVE me some goat! Especially of the cheese variety! These look fabulous, Alan! A fun, spicy, summery snack.

    Also, good tip on using gloves. Love spice in my belly, just not in my eyes :( I'm ashamed to admit how many batches of guac I've made where I couldn't touch my eyes for up to 24 hours afterwards. Habanero fingers and contacts don't mix well ;)

  10. these are looking good...very inventive!

  11. Definitely pop-worthy! I love the idea, especially since my husband has been on a popper binge lately (when he is not dieting:)
    There are people close to my dad's little ranch outside of the town here in Serbia that raise goats, and I am participating vicariously and symbolically by partaking of some fresh goat cheese and milk (I assume that I could have goat meat, too, if I even peeped in that direction:)
    Too bad you live on the other side of the continent, as I really miss my hunting friends from Ohio (have to find some fresh, California hunters:)

  12. Thanks for making the poppers for us tonight! They were yummy!!


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