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There is nothing more refreshing than a stroll along the stands at the farmer's market. I have to admit that I don't make it as often as I'd like. Being there, close to the source of the food, talking to the farmers, reminds me so much of the few times I had the pleasure of accompanying my grandmother to the field to pick vegetables or fruits, and sometimes even wild herbs. The guessing game was always fun as a child. Between the wild thyme, wild rocket (arugula), common mallow, it was like searching for treasures, really really fun! My grandparents grew all their food. Vegetables were picked at their prime, fruits were always juicy and sweet. My grandmother, who recently passed away, would always take me by the hand and explain to me how important it is to take care of the plants, and how to pick the fruit or vegetable without damaging the rest of the plant. It was such a treat and a memory to last a lifetime. Now with kids of my own, I take great care in keeping them tied to the land, creating similar experiences and teaching them respect for nature.
As for the chevon (goat meat), I've been searching around for it for a while, and found it at the farmer's market, couldn't walk away from grass fed/milk fed. Plus, it is 50% to 65% lower in fat than beef with similar protein content, and has less saturated fat than skinless chicken. It's widely used in the Levant region, just never tried it myself. So I got some breast cuts, they tend to be tender, as goat meat is known to be a little tough and is not recommended for dry cooking like grilling; for this stew, it was really great and the flavor wasn't gamy as I've heard.
This stew was such a breeze to make. Cut the meat in bite size cubes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside. To prepare the okra, wash the pods, drain them, remove the cap at an angle as in the picture above as to not puncture the capsule (to avoid the slimey-ness) and set aside. Finely chop the garlic cloves, and roughly chop the tomatoes.
In a large heavy pot, over medium heat, drizzle the olive oil and saute the chevon for 3 minutes, add okra and saute for 3 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes, water, half of the cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir together and cover pot. Reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning, add lemon juice and serve hot. Rice makes a good side.
1 1/2 lb fresh okra, cleaned, uncut
2 lb tomatoes, rough dice
1/2 lb chevon, breast cut, cubed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp garlic, fine chop
1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
1/4 cup water
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Jalapeno relish (optional)