Goat is the most common meat in the Congo. The infrastructure isn’t good enough to sustain big agribusiness, so the overwhelming majority of food is local grown and locally consumed. In Kinshasa, a popular pastime is to go out with friends or family for barbeque, a street dining experience where you choose the cuts of goat that are cooked to order over a red hot fire. It’s not fancy, but it is fun and tasty. The meat is bought to your table in newspaper with small packages of spicy dipping salt. Street sellers may walk by selling their wares such as fresh or roasted peanuts and hard boiled eggs. Another common Congolese dish is goat stew with peanut sauce. My friend in Kinshasa assures me that the goats in the eastern part of the country are the tastiest. I was lucky enough to spend a reasonable amount of time in that part of the country. Indeed, I had some fine goat dishes. There aren’t many places to eat out, but if you find somewhere, it’s likely the only food they’ll serve will be brochette et fritz, goat kebab and chips. It will probably come with a coleslaw style salad and mayonnaise.
I was very excited to find ‘rangeland’ goat meat at the Capital Region Farmers Market this weekend. I’ve had farmed goat since coming back home, but found it lacked the gamey complexity I enjoyed in Africa. I remember seeing goats on top of cars reaching for good food. You can’t get a more varied diet, so the flavour difference is hardly surprising. But I think wild goat will be as close as I can get. Goat is a delicious meat that is similar in many ways to lamb, and could simply be treated as such, but I decided to take a walk down memory lane and make this dish inspired by Congolese food. If I were in Africa, I’d serve this dish with young cassava leaves, but I’m not, so I’d recommend serving it with sautéed spinach. Onions in the east of the Congo are mild and sweet, so you could easily use salad onions in this recipe. I used smoked salt in the sauce to make the connection with that barbeque experience. This is totally optional.
|chilli, to taste|
To make the peanut sauce place half the peanut oil, and all the chilli, onion and garlic in a small saucepan and cook very gently till they smell sweet and are soft. Do not colour the onions. Meanwhile, score the skin of the tomato with a sharp knife into quarters and drop it into boiling water for a minute. Remove the tomato from the water and peel away the skin. Slice the tomato in half and scoop the liquid and seeds into the pan with the onion. Dice the flesh and add it to the pan. Simmer till the sauce thickens then add the peanut butter. Mix well, season with salt and sugar then take off the heat.
Heat a frying pan or barbeque. Slice the potato into rounds one centimetre thick. Brush the cutlets and potato slices with the remaining peanut oil. Cook till the potato slices are golden and the cutlets are just cooked to your liking. Allow the cutlets to rest in a warm place for five minutes before plating up with the potato and warm peanut sauce.
Serve with sautéed spinach.