This spicy dish is perfect on a chilly fall evening

I love Fall because it heralds the begin- ning of a season filled with celebrations — Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a time to gather with family and friends and most often involves prepa- ring and sharing meals. If nothing else, I think the pandemic has made us all more aware of how much we enjoy (and have missed) being together around a dining table with others.

As someone who loves to cook, I tend to view the calendar not so much as a way to keep track of the days but as a way to ac- knowledge when certain fruits and vege- tables will be available in local farmers’ markets or grocery stores. March brings new lettuce, in April comes fresh asparagus (my favorite vegetable!), May means blueberry picking, June delivers the first tomatoes and July blesses us with fresh corn on the cob! And so it goes…. One of fall’s most visible and bountiful produce is pumpkin. We use them for dec- oration as well as food and enjoy them both ways. Although we tend to relegate them to pie filling, many parts of the world (Aus- tralia, New Zealand) consume them as a vegetable staple in their diets. I became a fan

of pumpkin soup after having it so often while visiting “down under.” This month’s recipe comes from a free cookbook included with the purchase of my slow cooker; Weeknight Favorites is a collec- tion of 50 recipes developed for Crock-Pot use. As always, I have adapted this for goat meat, tweaking the ingredients and instruc- tions to best showcase goat meat. I prefer to use a disposable slow cooker liner because it sure makes clean-up faster and easier. To complete the meal, serve with a pear and cottage cheese salad, crescent rolls and apple crisp for dessert.

Autumn Apricot Goat Ragu 2 lbs. boneless goat meat cut into bite-size pieces

2 c. medium chunky salsa 1 1/3 c. apricot nectar

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (see below) 1 c. chopped dried apricots 1 c. sliced green onions 6 T. water 4 T. flour

6 c. hot cooked rice ½ c. chopped fresh cilantro

Place goat meat, salsa, nectar and pumpkin


pie spice in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Turn slow cooker to HIGH and add apricots and green onions and cook for 15 more minutes. In a small glass container, mix flour and water together until smooth. Slowly add to the slow cooker and cook for 30 minutes or until thickened. Cor- rect seasonings.

Serve over hot rice and garnish with cilantro. Serves 6-8.

For fun, here is a recipe (from my grocery store magazine) for making your own pump- kin pie spice. Store in a glass jar away from direct sunlight and heat — use for 4-6 months. Spices need to be replenished often as they lose their flavor and potency in a short time.

Pumpkin Pie Spice ¼ tsp. ground cloves ½ tsp. allspice 4 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg 1 tsp. ground ginger

(Suzanne Stemme lives with her hus-

band, Dr. Kraig Stemme, DVM, in Alba, Texas. The Stemmes raise Kiko breeding stock at Lake Fork Kikos. You can reach Su- zanne via their website: www.lakeforkki-

Goats to clean up

Houston nature area The Houston (Texas) Arboretum & Na- ture Center is bringing in more than 120 goats this month to assist with overgrown vegetation as an “eco-friendly solution” to replace commercial mowing and herbicides. The goats will be from Rent-A-Rumi-

nant Texas and will focus on one-and-a-half acres of land around the North and South Woodway ponds. According to a press re- lease, the public will be welcome to view the goats any day from Oct. 4-10. “We are thrilled to partner with Rent- A-Ruminant to test this concept in the Ar- boretum as a natural method to control vegetation, including invasive plant species on the slopes,” says Debbie Markey, Ex- ecutive Director of the Houston Arboretum.

16 Goat Rancher | October 2020

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