A taste of the Caribbean community comes to
Ann Arbor’s Westside
By Ari Weinzweig
It’s been a long while since I was last in Jamaica, but I’ve not forgotten the great flavor of curried goat. While the dish may sound obscure if you’re sitting, as I am, in the American Midwest, on the island, it’s as everyday as hamburgers and hot dogs would be in Michigan. Curried Goat isn’t likely to hit the list of most popular dishes in the state any time soon, but the Roadhouse crew is happily making it for us every day this month!
About our goat.
Goat is not yet a regular item on the meat counters in most mainstream American supermarkets, but if we think globally not locally, we’ll be reminded that goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world! More popular than pork, beef, or chicken. Its health benefits are staggering when compared to other kinds of meat, including chicken. It has less saturated fat, calories, and cholesterol. The goats in this dish are coming from Hickory Knoll Farms in Onondaga, Michigan, about two-thirds of the way from Ann Arbor to Lansing. Rusty Plummer and Michael Metzger have been farming there for over 30 years and as of last month, they’ve been delivering fresh goat meat to the Roadhouse.
About Jamaican curry.
Curry came to Jamaica between 1845 and 1917, when about 35,000 Indians were sent to the island from British India as indentured servants. After enslavement became illegal in 1830, most of the Indian immigrants remained on the island. Goat is a meat of choice for Hindus because they do not eat beef and for Muslims who will not eat pork. As I said above, today curry is completely integrated into the cuisine of the country. Chef Kwame Onwuachi says, “Goat is at the center of many of Jamaica’s best dishes,” and curry goat is pretty surely near the center of the center.
How we make our curried goat!
To make the curry, the Roadhouse kitchen crew simmers the goat with lots of onion and a bunch of the Jamaican Curry spice blend from the folks at Épices de Cru for about four to five hours! The curry is one of nearly a dozen different blends that we get from the de Vienne family up in Montreal. The Épices de Cru Jamaican Curry blend is very full-flavored and also traditional. Like everything we get from Épices de Cru, this blend is complex and well-balanced with a fine finish. It includes turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, cumin, allspice, habanero chile, nutmeg, bay leaf, and cloves—the Roadhouse grinds the whole spices only when it’s time to make the stew. As per what the de Viennes say, it “makes for a marvelously aromatic stew!” Hazel Craig, a Jamaican immigrant who’s been living in New York for many years now, says, “When you heat everything up together, all the flavor gets locked in there.” Potatoes are added near the end so as not to overcook them. Served with Carolina Gold Rice and topped with fresh cabbage salad that’s seasoned with a small bit of cilantro!