THE KITCHEN DIVA

Goat meat is a healthy protein choice.

Animal protein staples in America have traditionally been beef, pork and poultry. Until now, that is! American consumers are warming up to goat meat. It's a healthy protein choice that 75% of the world has been enjoying for a very long time.

Goat meat is a staple in Asia, Latin America, the Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Middle East. Here in the U.S.A., the popularity of goat meat is growing by leaps and bounds.

Goat's profile as a sustainable and lean meat choice is no doubt contributing to interest in this healthy protein. Since the molecular structure of goat meat is different from that of beef or chicken, it is easier to digest. Goat meat is leaner than beef and has just as many grams of protein per serving. It also is lower in saturated fat than chicken.

A 3-ounce portion of goat meat has 122 calories, considerably less than beef's 179 and chicken's 162. In terms of fat, goat is a much leaner and more readily available meat. It's 2.6 grams of total fat per 3-ounce serving is about one-third of beef's 7.9 grams and less than half of chicken's 6.3 grams. A serving of goat meat represents just 4% of your daily value of total fat, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Goat meat also has more iron per serving than beef, pork, lamb or chicken.

"Consuming goat meat hasn't been part of our culture, but its popularity is rising as people search for healthy, lean, hormone-free sources of protein," said Lindsey Stevenson, a University of Missouri Extension nutrition and health education specialist.

Goat meat may sound exotic, but it can be prepared much like lamb. The cuts are very similar: leg and leg cuts, sirloin, loin, rack of goat and shoulder cuts. Diced and ground goatmeat also may be available.

For consumers in the U.S. and Canada, look for goat meat at traditional grocers or in specialty markets. Goat meat also can be ordered online. Ethnic stores or specialty butchers may have goat on hand or be willing to order some for you.

You might be surprised to learn that much of the goat consumed here in the U.S. comes from Australia. Imports of goat meat to the U.S. have more than doubled in the past 10 years, and 98% of that imported goatmeat comes from Australia.

Because Australian goats are pasture-raised in a natural environment and are not given any additives or added hormones, Aussie goat meat is lean and healthy, and has a natural flavor. Much like its beef and lamb, Australian goat is a safe choice, as Australia is internationally recognized as free of all major livestock diseases. And because Australia is one of the world's largest exporters of goat meat, you can count on its long-term commitment to food safety.

Because it's very lean and low in fat, goat meat is particularly well-suited to slow cooking methods such as braising and stewing, and in flavorful, spicy dishes like this Australian recipe for goat chops. It's a delicious way to warm up on a cold winter day!

GOAT CHOPS WITH TOMATOES AND CHICKPEAS

4 goat chops, bone-in

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground oregano

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 (15-ounce) can chopped, peeled tomatoes

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup white wine or beef broth

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or butter beans, drained

Rinse and dry the chops on both sides. Sprinkle the chops on both sides with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon each of the salt, black pepper, paprika and the oregano. Heat oil in a large frying pan and brown the chops, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt, pepper, paprika and oregano, along with the red pepper flakes, cloves and the sugar. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine or broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Add the chops and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add the chickpeas or butter beans, simmer 10 minutes. Serves 4.

For recipes and more about Australian meats, visit trueaussiebeefandlamb.com.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children's author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is "The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook." Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.  (c) 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis

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