It We need to start with two small confessions. Firstly, we have not found an authentic Italian recipe for this dish (yet)! And secondly, we have taken longer to name the dish than it did to cook and eat it!! Lets start with how we came to make the dish and you will get some idea why the naming took some time!!
After a lot of advice from Meg at Moat Goats we bought a half Goat Kid from them in early 2023. We challenged ourselves to cook each of the pieces that arrived without venturing into any form of curried goat (this time at least). We have already cooked a lovely Italian style slow braised goat shoulder with chickpea ragù. One slight problem that we needed to turn into an opportunity was the bag of “stock bones” that arrived as part of our order. Normally I relish the opportunity and the resources to make good home made stock – but with the state of our freezer, finding space to store it once made was going to be an issue!
We had over the past few months cooked a wonderful Braised Oxtail Ragù. This is a great Roman dish and is part of the cuisine derived from the quinto quarto or fifth quarter. These were the parts of the animal the rich didn’t want – and is perhaps the capital city’s equivalent of ‘La cucina povera’ of the rural areas of Italy. As these stock bones still had some meat on them we decided to treat them the way we did the Oxtail and produce our own quinto quarto style dish – so this I hope explains why we haven’t found an authentic Italian recipe for this goat dish! As to the naming of the dish – our working title has been goat bone ragù. Accurate if not perhaps inspiring! After trying to come up with more inspiring terms, we decided just to make it a little more accurate “Kid Goat Bone Ragu” and then translate it into Italian – Ragù di Osso di Capretto which I think sounds fine!
This is another perfect dish to cook on the Big Green Egg as the ease of long slow cooking in a generously moist oven really seems to make a difference to the final dish.
We tend to start off the cook in one of our Tefal Ingenio frying pans which allow us to remove the handle for cooking on the BGE. We can then assemble the browned ingredients in the Dutch oven before adding the liquid elements. Rather than using guanciale for his dish we went with the more readily available pancetta and cut this into lardons. They were sautéed to release some of their fat and develop a little colour. They were set aside into the Dutch oven and the finely chopped onions were added to the frying pan and cooked in the released fat with a little olive oil. The onions were followed by the finely chopped carrots and the finely chopped celery (that is half the total celery) and cooked for another 5-10 minutes until softened and lightly coloured. They were then mixed with the pancetta in the Dutch oven.
The next stage does take a little time as the less than conveniently shaped bones do need browning on all sides to begin the rendering process and to add the additional flavours that this stage brings. It is worth the time spent though. Once they had taken on some colour on each side they were sat into the dutch oven, with the soffritto.
The wine was added to the frying pan to deglaze it, and then this was added to the rest of the casserole and cooked until the alcohol was driven off.
We used tinned tomatoes for this dish together with some fresh ones that were blitzed into an unsieved passatta and these were added and stirred though as well as we could. The cloves were added and the dish lightly seasoned before starting it on its long cook!
We have been cooking our Oxtail version of this dish indirectly on the BGE for around 6-7 hours at about 110-120C in the Dutch oven without the lid. This was our plan here, certainly until the meat was ready to fall off the bones. We checked the sauce every hour or so in case we needed to add some water.
As the BGE quietly cooked the dish we blanched the other celery pieces and rehydrated the raisins in a little water. When we came to toast the pine nuts we found that we were a little short and so we added some sunflower hearts and gently toasted them both. (This adaptation worked well).
Once the meat was beginning to fall from the bone it was time to check and adjust the seasoning. We then added the final ingredients, the blanched celery, toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds and the raisins. The oxtail recipe also calls for 1-2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa or dark chocolate. We just added 1tbsp though if you were using dark chocolate you might be a little more generous. The dish was then left to cook for a further 30 minutes.
This is a good point to strip the meat and discard the bones It took quite a time to carefully remove all the bones – certainly longer than with the oxtail but it is worth spending the time. The meat was then added back to the ragù. As has become our habit in cooler weather, we closed the vents on the BGE and left it to cool down overnight with the dutch oven in place finishing off cooking (night temperatures were below 5C). This sort of dish is always better the following day and I do like the idea of using the residual heat from the BGE!
When coming to serve, the parsley can be added as the ragù is reheated. I was surprised how much meat was released from these bones and the recipe made 6 x 175g portions. I think this frugality meets the concept of “La Cucina Povera” perfectly! The ragu works really well with both long and short pasta, but make sure you choose ones that will carry the sauce well such as pappardelle or mafalde, or if using short pastas rigatoni or casarecce. They each work well!
Not only is this a frugal dish, it is quite delightful in its own right. It shares many of the characteristics of the Oxtail ragù, unsurprisingly. But it is a lighter and perhaps a slightly more subtle dish.
It may not be authentic in terms of its ingredients………………
…………… but in terms of its principals – it is truly Italian!
Ragù di Osso di Capretto (Kid Goat Bone Ragù)
Slow goat in a rich tomato sauce enriched with celery, pine nuts, raisins ..... and cocoa
- 1kg Goat bones
- 800g tomato passata or peeled/tinned tomatoes (or combination)
- 50g guanciale or pancetta cut into lardons
- 1 large carrots washed and finely chopped
- 6 celery stalks 3 cuts into pieces 4x1cm and 3 finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- ½ glass white wine
- 2-4 cloves
- 1tbsp unsweetend cocoa or grated dark chocolate
- 1 handful raisins soaked in water
- 1 handful pine nuts (or sunflower kernels) toasted by dry frying
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
- Step 1 Season the Goat bones, blanch the larger pieces of celery for around 1min to slightly soften, soak the raisins, dry fry the pine nuts/sunflower kernals
- Step 2 Lightly fry off the pancetta with a little olive oil in the frying pan then add the onions and cook till slightly softened. Add the carrot and finely chopped celery and continue to cook till they take on a little colour. Put this sofritto into the casserole.
- Step 3 Add the goat bones to the frying pan with a little more olive oil and brown on all sides. Then nestle the bones on the sofritto. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, allow the alcohol to evaporate then add to the casserole
- Step 4 Set up the BGE for indirect cooking at around 110-120C. Add the tomatoes and cloves to the casserole and mix together. Put the casserole without its lid into the BGE and cook for 6-7 hours. Check hourly to make sure that it is not drying out too much Add water as required
- Step 5 Once the meat is cooked to the point where it is falling off the bone check and adjust the seasoning. Add the blanched celery, soaked raisins, toasted pine nuts/sunflower kernels and the cocoa. Stir and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
- Step 6 Remove the meat from the bones, shred it and add it back to the sauce. Add fresh parsley. The ragù sauce works well with short or long pasta