Goat biryani recipe

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  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings


For the Spice Blend
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 whole black cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 1 teaspoon white cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon aniseed
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds (optional)
  • 2 crushed, dried bay leaves
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
For the Goat Braise
  • 3½ pounds goat shoulder or leg, bone-in and cubed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 green chilies (Thai or serrano), finely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken, beef, or lamb stock
  • 1⁄3 cup yogurt, beaten (beating yogurt with a whisk before adding it to a curry or stew will prevent the yogurt from “breaking,” or separating)
  • 8–10 mint leaves, chopped
  • large handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
For the Rice
  • 3½ cups of basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear and drained
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod, cracked open
  • Salt, to taste
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all the spice blend ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot that has a fitted lid over medium-high heat. Season the goat generously with salt and pepper. Add the oil and sear the meat for 2 minutes per side in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. You want to develop a nice brown and overcrowding will steam the meat. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Turn heat down very slightly and add the onions to the same pot. Brown the onions to develop the signature taste of biryani. Cooking time will vary for this, but it takes about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Add more oil if you need to. If you want to speed up the process, you can separately deep-fry these onions, but I like the caramelized flavor that develops from slow-cooking them. Remove onions to a separate plate.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the spice blend, chilies, garlic, and ginger and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to burn the spices. Reduce the heat as needed. You are looking for a change in the smell, a toasted nuttiness that will signify the spices are cooked.
  5. Add back in the meat (along with any juices), 2⁄3 of the onions (reserving the other 1⁄3 for later), as well as the tomato and stock. Bring mixture up to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, stirring the pot at half-hour intervals. Remove from the oven, stir in the beaten yogurt, and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes, partially covered.
  6. While the goat is cooking, work on the rice. Bring the rice, whole spices, and 5¼ cups water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Reduce to a simmer and simmer partially covered for 15 minutes. The rice will be partially cooked, which is what you want. Remove from the heat.
  7. In the meantime, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add the saffron and turn off the heat. The saffron should infuse the liquid with its flavor and color (we are going to pour this over the rice at the end).
  8. Remove the goat braise from the oven and add in the chopped mint and cilantro (reserving a few tablespoons for garnish). Add some lemon juice and season to taste.
  9. You can either use another casserole dish to layer the biryani or you can transfer the goat to another bowl and use the same pot in which you cooked it. The bottom layer should be half of the goat braise. Top that with half of the rice and then repeat to finish the goat and the rice. Cover the top with the remaining browned onions, the toasted nuts, the golden raisins, and chopped herbs. Poke holes in the rice and pour the saffron-milk mixture all over the top. Cover tightly and place back in the oven for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked through.
  10. Serve hot and with much fanfare for all the work you put in!

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