Harissa Goat Shanks with Carrots, Tomatoes, and Butternut Puree

I have a love-hate relationship with our pressured cooker. It may be energy efficient and convenient, but as soon as it's closed, it's closed. There's no peeking in. There's no poking the food for doneness. There's no turning back. It drives me nuts. If you're like Oliver, and speed is the trump-all factor, a pressure cooker is your dream. If you're like me, and you want to watch your food the entire time it cooks, a pressure cooker might just drive you crazy. There's no finesse. No way to tweak as you go. Really, you have to let go of your inner control freak and let the machine do the cooking. 

No wonder it drive me nuts. 

Despite how much I despise the process, I admit that the pressure cooker might be the most useful kitchen appliance we have. Our Instant Pot looks like R2D2, minus the "arms". ...If those are arms… See: 

Twins. Sort of. Long lost cousins? They're related somehow. 

Anyways, the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker/slow cooker hybrid. Here's where the love comes in. One of the best things about this little robot is it allows us to start a meal in the morning, go climbing all day, and come home to a warm homemade meal that would have taken hours to make otherwise. So while we're out playing, the Instant Pot is chugging away, making pretty much any sort of meat fall-off the bone tender. We get home, serve it up, and I take all the credit. See why this thing is gaining my affections? 

The view from Central Flatirons, our go-to spot for day trip climbing.

When you're tired and hungry, everything tastes good. This Harissa Goat Shank, however, tastes amazing whether you're tired or not. A knife is not necessary--after 4 hours in R2D2, a fork is all you need to pull of succulent pieces of meat from these goat shanks. In fact, I think I ate this entire meal with the spoon that was sitting in front of me when I served the dish. 

I was inspired by Molly Stevens' recipe for Roasted Goat Leg with Hairssa, Tomatoes, and Onions. The bold flavor of Harissa gives the shanks flavor without over shadowing the goat, which is a surprisingly subtle meat. The tomatoes and carrots are sweet, especially after a day of stewing. It's the sort of dish that takes your mouth halfway across the world and back, conjuring up visions of the middle east. It's the sort of meal you want to make again, the very next day. 

Harissa Goat Shank with Tomatoes & Carrots over Butternut Puree

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 young goat shanks

Homemade Tunisian-Style Harissa (recipe follows)

4 ripe roma tomatoes, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 large carrots, diced

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup bone broth

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced. 

Homemade Tunisian-Style Harissa

1 ounce guajillo chilies (roughly 4-5 dried chilies)

Water

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon caraway 

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons avocado oil or melted coconut oil

 

Make the harissa: Soak the chilies in water over night (or cheat: place the chilies in a microwave safe contain full of water and put in the microwave until the water boils and the chilies are soft. Drain the softened chilies, and place in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Store in air-tight container. 

For the goat: Turn your slow cooker on low and heat the coconut oil in the bottom of the bowl. Add the onions. 

While the onions brown, prepare the goat--peel and trim away any leathery membrane or patches of fat. Goat is a very lean meat so don't concern yourself with peeling off everything (some of that fat will add good flavor). Rub the prepared shanks down with Harissa sauce, and then place in the bottom of the slow cooker to brown. Turn the shanks after a few minutes and brown the other side. 

Add the wine to the pot, along with the broth. Scatter the dices tomatoes, minced garlic, and carrots around the pot. Add salt and pepper. Close the slow cooker and set it for 4 hours. 

When the slow cooker is almost done, steam the butternut squash in a steam basket for 8 minutes. (TIP: Alternatively, before you start the slow cooker, simply leave the butternut squash in two halves, place a steam basket OVER the goat shanks in the slow cooker, and put the butternut squash in the basket.  When the goat is done, the squash will be too!). Mash the squash with a potato masher or in a blender. 

To serve, spread a scoop of squash on a plate, top with a shank. Then drizzle with the softened carrots, tomatoes, and pan sauce.