Seco de Chivo
(Ecuadorian goat stew)
Secos are thick Ecuadorian stews, usually served with yellow rice and fried plantains. Seco de chivo is goat stew and is special occasion food in Ecuador. Traditionally, seco de chivo was made with chicha, a fermented corn beverage favored by the Incas. Nowadays beer is more common. Tart fruit juices are often added as well for added flavor and to offset any gaminess.
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.