How’s everybody out there doing?
I’d like to state up front that, for the foreseeable future, I will have some extra time on my hands. As a result, these write-ups may start getting a bit wordy, as I feel like I’m actually able to communicate with humanity this way.
As I was saying, we are working our way slowly but surely through these movies, both here and over at the ‘Disney By The Numbers’ posts, written by the human I do actually see from time to time. Some of these are honestly slogs, or they are so complicated to write about or be creative about that you just want to curl yourself into the fetal position and warble ‘Candle On The Water’ to yourself as you mentally catalogue your remaining number of films (Answer: Cannot Predict Now).
I was totally prepared for this recipe to be that kind of recipe. It’s a movie that I mostly remember for a great soundtrack and interesting animation style and little else. But overall, this was a fun challenge, if not a little…challenging.
As is usually the case, I started with my protein, and the choice was obvious. Phil, the character voiced by human cartoon character and gift to humankind Danny DeVito, is a Satyr. For those of you who don’t have the free time to spend on the Disney Wiki page for him, that is a half-human half- goat creature. Fun fact: in Greek art, these creatures are depicted as having horse-like features, whereas in Italian art, they have goat-like features. However, this movie is based on Greek gods.
I found bone-in goat pieces at our local grocery store that has weird hard-to-find stuff. To prepare it, I adapted Tom Colicchio’s beef short rib recipe, which is a fairly labor-intensive process (but as I stated earlier, I’ve got too much time on my hands (I’ve also had time to listen to the best of Styx of Amazon Prime)). You sear the meat and then let it sit overnight in liquid. In the original recipe, it is red wine, but here I used good old Coca Cola, to represent the Herc-Cola in the movie. You bake the meat and liquid for at least two hours, and then you pull it out of the oven and allow it to cool to almost room temperature. The key to a good braise is allowing it to cool in the liquid, which allows the meat to absorb more of that sauce. If you pull meat out of a braise too soon, it dries out, and the point of braised meat is the tenderness. Because I couldn’t find boneless goat, taking the bones out was a kind of annoying part of the process, but it is much easier the more tender the meat is. After I deboned and chopped the goat, I moved the meat to a container and covered it with the pan liquid, to make sure it stayed moist (shudder).
Because the film is based on Greek mythology, I knew I wanted to go in a Mediterranean direction with the flavor profile of the dish. Thus, the ‘Zero To Gyro’ was born (geddit? Get It?). I made my first batch of pita bread, adapting Paul Hollywood’s recipe.
In place of the basic fresh vegetables melange usually found stuffed into a gyro, I chose to make a salad called ‘Thunder And Lightning’. It is a salad made of pickled cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. It’s name is derived from a tradition in the south of collecting your vegetables from the garden when you know a storm is about to come in and knock them off the vine. It is a nod to the God of Thunder, Zeus, as well as a reference to the southern gospel- style of the Greek Chorus in the movie. To finish off the gyro, I made a quick tzatziki-style sauce with fresh dill, garlic, and feta. It added a great balance to the sandwich.
Continuing on in the Greek style, I made couscous for the very first time. I’m a big texture eater, so it’s always been on my ‘No Thank You’ list, but this was pretty good, if not a little frog’s eye…ey. I cooked it with saffron and a touch of heavy cream. It had a great flavor, and thankfully I enjoyed it, because the container of couscous I bought was pretty big.
If you’re still with me, you should get some kind of award, but I fear these will just get longer. Let’s see if you can….go the distance.
Okay, let’s get cooking!
Cola-Braised Goat Gyro With Saffron Couscous
Prep Time: 2 Hours
Cook Time: 2 Hours
Cola-Braised Goat Gyro With Saffron Couscou
Prep Time:1 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Cola Braised Goat
2 lbs goat, cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 T vegetable oil
1 cup vegetable stock
24 oz cola
Salt and Pepper
Pat the goat dry with a paper towel and then season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on the stove top. Brown the goat pieces, making sure not to crowd the pan too much. Get a dark crust on the pieces before removing them from the pan. Place them in a greased casserole dish. Add the garlic, peppers and onion to the pan and saute until soft. Pour the cola and the vegetable stock into the pan and bring it to a simmer. Pour over the meat and cool to room temperature before covering with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the covered pan in the oven and allow to braise for 2 hours. Pull the pan out of the oven and allow to cool slightly before chopping the meat. It should be very tender. Move the meat to a new bowl or container and pour the excess liquid over the meat as it continues to cool. Gently reheat at the time of serving.
Thunder And Lightning Salad
1 large tomato
1 red onion
1 t salt
2 t granulated sugar
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Slice cucumber, onion, and tomato thinly on mandolin. In separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and pour over vegetables. Chill until ready to use or keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 feta crumbles
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth. Chill until ready to use or keep in the fridge for 7-10 days.
Homemade Pita Bread
250 g bread flour
7 g instant yeast
1 tsp salt
160 ml water
2 tsp olive oil
In a bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and oil gradually as you mix with your hands until a soft dough forms. The dough should be soft, not sticky. Only use as much water and oil as you need. Drizzle a small amount of oil onto your countertop and then kneed the dough for 5-10 minutes. One the dough is smooth, place it in a clean, oiled bowl and allow it to proof until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 475 degrees and place a baking stone or cookie sheet on the middle rack. Dump your risen dough onto a floured counter and kneed it down by folding it in on itself. Split the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll each ball into a round disk.
Dust your baking stone or pan with flour and then place the pita dough disks onto it and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until they start to slightly brown. Cover them with a clean flour sack dishcloth as they cool to keep them soft.
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups pearl couscous
2 vial saffron
1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh oregano and parsley, chopped
Feta cheese, crumbled
Place the saffron and broth in a pot on the stove and bring to a boil. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook the couscous for 8-10 minutes, or until it is tender. Top with fresh herbs and crumbled feta.
Split open the pita, making a pocket. Fill with warm goat meat, vegetable salad, and dill yogurt sauce, and serve with saffron couscous.
This dish was surprisingly tasty! I was a little worried about the goat, but it turned out tender and flavorful. If you’re feeling adventurous, you should definitely try out this ‘Zero to Gyro’.
Get it? Zero to Gyro?
I crack me up.