Capretto alla romana

In August, I published a post about what we had cooked with pieces of shoulder meat on the bone from milk-fed baby goat. When we went to Cester’s to buy the meat for that meal, our eyes were bigger than even our well-fed stomachs, so we ended up freezing enough raw meat to cook a second dish down the track.

A meal of goat requires a few hours of preparation and cooking. After two weekends out of town, that window of opportunity came last Saturday. Much as we had enjoyed the recipe we used in August, we chose to do a pot-roast this time, adapting the recipe for an Italian lamb dish known as Abbacchio alla romana. The lamb dish is traditionally made using shoulder pieces. This produces a very tasty result which is also incredibly sticky, from the rendered lamb fat; we now use jointed lamb shanks, to achieve a less tactile experience!

The goat worked very well but we did modify the recipe by taking a few minutes to drain the pan juices and then remove most of the fat about two-thirds of the way through the cooking time. Here are some photos of the finished dish; the recipe follows.

Goat abbacchio 1   Goat abbacchio 2


1-2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 slices prosciutto, coarsely chopped
1.5kg pieces of goat shoulder meat on the bone
8-10 cloves garlic (depending on size and flavour), peeled and sliced
leaves from 1-2 rosemary sprigs, chopped
12-15 sage leaves
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or 1tbsp each of red wine and vinegar)
100ml of beef stock


  1. Add a good splash of olive oil to a large, heavy-based non-stick pan over moderate heat and brown and brown the pieces of meat in one or two batches. Transfer to a plate. Use a knife to cut through any pieces of membrane on the outside of the pieces of meat (this will prevent the meat from tightening and twisting and is easier to do after browning).
  2. Preheat oven to 150C.
  3. Use an ovenproof lidded pan that will hold the pieces of meat comfortably, more or less in a single layer. Add a slash of olive oil to the pan over low heat, add prosciutto and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and herbs, and saute for a further 2 minutes, add the pieces of meat, put the lid on the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for about 1 hour, turning the meat once.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the meat to a plate and tip the other contents of the pan into a coarse sieve over a bowl. Use a thin-edged spoon to remove as much as possible of the rendered goat fat from the surface of the liquid in the bowl.
  6. Return the content of the sieve to the pan, add the pieces of goat and the deglazed liquid. Add the vinegar and stock and return the lidded pan to the oven.
  7. Cook for a further 30 minutes, remove the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes to caramelise the edges of the meat.

The rosemary and sage leaves were picked fresh from our kitchen garden.

About rmgtravelsandfood

Maggie and I are both in our mid-60s and live in Melbourne, Australia. This blog is devoted to our shared passions for travel and fine dining at home. As cooks, we are skilful and adventurous within a framework of mainly traditional ingredients and techniques, and we aim to prepare nutritious food that looks good and tastes delicious. Our evolving repertoire is influenced by both our travels and Melbourne's vibrant food culture. While we are young enough, our priority travel destinations are overseas, although we do spend a few long weekends each year exploring parts of south-eastern Australia. As travellers, we are most comfortable with a combination of organised and independent touring. Our first overseas journey together was to Italy in the northern autumn of 2008. We later travelled in France (2009), Spain (2011), Singapore and Cambodia (2012/13). All trips from 2014 to 2016 are documented in this blog. When time allows, we will publish posts about our journeys - eight and counting - in 2017, 2018 and 2019
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