Seco de Chivo
(Ecuadorian goat stew)
6 to 8 servings
- Goat stew meat, with bones -- 2 pounds
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Achiote powder, or sweet paprika -- 2 teaspoons
- Red onion, finely chopped -- 1
- Green bell pepper, finely chopped -- 1
- Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
- Chicha de jora or beer -- 2 cups
- Stock, water or fruit juice (see variations) -- 2 cups
- Grated piloncillo or brown sugar -- 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Cilantro, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
- Wash the goat meat in cool water, drain and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides in the hot oil. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add more oil to the pot if needed and stir the achoite powder or paprika to color the oil. Stir in the onion and bell pepper and saute for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onions are cooked down and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
- Add back the reserved goat and stir in the chicha or beer, stock, water or juice, the piloncillo or brown sugar and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Add water as necessary to keep the seco stewlike.
- Remove from heat, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve hot with a side of arroz amarillo (rice colored yellow with turmeric or achiote), platanos fritos (fried plantains) and slices of avocado.
- Meat: It's getting easier to find goat meat in the United States. Try your local Latin, African or Middle Eastern market. If you can't find goat, lamb works well for seco too.
- Fruit Juice: In Ecuador, the juice most often added to seco de chivo is from a local fruit called the naranjilla with a green color and a tart flavor. You can also use other tart juices like bitter orange, tamarind or pineapple.
- Seasonings: Add one or two minced ají or other chile peppers with the onions to give your seco a little heat. Stir in some cumin or oregano. Add a handfull of parsley to the simmering stew.
- Seco de Pollo (Chicken stew): Substitute 2 pounds of cut-up chicken pieces for the goat. Reduce simmering time to about an hour or hour and a half.