The South American Table: The Flavor and Soul of Authentic Home Cooking from Patagonia to Rio De Janeiro, With 450 Recipes
Published by Harvard Common Press
Talkari is a stew of Indian origin that came to Venezuela via the island of Trinidad, undergoing some changes along the way. It is very popular on the Paria coast. In some coastal towns, it would be unthinkable to throw a party without having a big pot of talkari simmering while the music is playing and guests are dancing and drinking. It is believed to cure depression and restore vitality. Its particulars change from town to town, depending on what is available. Sometimes the stew is made with chicken stock instead of wine. Some people use potatoes in the stew (as here), while others serve it with rice. Eggplant may or may not be used. The meat of choice is goat, but chicken or lamb may be substituted. If goat is available, it is deliciously savory in this stew.
Serves6 to 8
One Pot MealYes
OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, meaty, rich, savory, spiced
- 6 pounds leg of baby goat, bone in, cut into 2-inch pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 head garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 medium-size onions, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
- One 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, with juices
- Bouquet garni (6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried, 6 sprigs fresh parsley, and 2 bay leaves, tied up in cheesecloth)
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 medium-size eggplant (about 1 pound)
- 1½ pounds boiling potatoes
Trim the fat and membranes from the goat. Thoroughly rub with the lemon juice to remove any gamy taste. Rinse well, drain, and dry with paper towels.
Put the garlic, oregano, cumin, curry powder, cloves, 2 teaspoons of the salt, the black pepper, and cayenne in a blender and process until smooth. Rub the goat with this paste, cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Chop the tomatoes with their juices in a blender. Add to the pan along with the bouquet garni, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Add the wine and continue to cook until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the eggplant. Peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl of cold water mixed with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt to remove the bitterness. After 30 minutes, drain well. Add to the stew when the meat is tender. Cook until the eggplant is very soft, about 20 minutes.
Also while the meat is cooking, peel the potatoes, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds, and then cut into quarters. Cook in salted boiling water until tender. Add to the finished stew and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb some of the flavor. Taste for salt and black pepper and serve.
Serve with rice and Pattu.
2003 Maria Baez Kijac