Goat Belly and Specialty Pigs From Stephanie Izard and Stephen Stryjewski
Visiting chef Izard, owner of Chicago's Girl & The Goat, chose to present her restaurant's specialty dish, goat belly served topped with a bourbon butter poached crab and served alongside fennel. A tougher, less fatty meat than pork, beef or duck, the goat presents a special challenge to cook "just right," she said, but offers a unique flavor when done well.
The dish is one of nearly a dozen to feature goat out of a seasonally rotating menu of up to 30 offerings Izard serves at her Chicago restaurant. The establishment -- named for her surname, Izard, a breed of French mountain goat -- receives as many as eight to 10 locally-raised goats each week.
But goat wasn't always on the menu. "When I named the restaurant, I said 'We should probably learn how to cook goat,'" Izard told Clean Plate Charlie. "Now, we just want to get it out there and help people to love it as much as we do."
Izard began by mastering the basics making goat sausage in-house, and braising goat shoulder. Today, the Girl & The Goat serves seared goat loin, goat carpaccio, goat shanks and legs -- and, of course -- goat belly.
The goat belly isn't an easy dish to make, however. "To make the confit, we have to save up the fat [from the meat], because it isn't as fatty as say, duck or pig," said Izard. "It's not something you can do the first time around."
The next time you're in Chicago, be sure to check out her latest venture, Little Goat, set to open this month. A combination of diner, deli, patisserie coffee shop, it was originally supposed to be a smaller version of Girl & The Goat, which is known for its fresh-baked breads. The new 7,500-square-foot space will now employ 200 people, and will be open 20 hours a day where you can order from a traditional diner menu offering over 70 dishes.