Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goat Head Soup

Now this looks like a hearty soup.

Fat, handmade, doughy dumplings bob among roots, tubers, plantains and goat pieces in this Jamaican specialty available on Fridays at C&J Jamaican restaurant and bakery.

This soup is more accessible than you may imagine, and neither overpowers nor disappoints, providing a smooth, silky ride that fills you up and keeps you coming back for more.

This is one of the irregular shaped dumplings.
The thick and fatty broth is wonderful and full of deep goaty flavors. The kind of soup that may just win people over for more goat in their lives.

This is one of the plantain slices. The first time I had this, I couldn't figure out what it was, thinking it was a strange tuber or root vegetable, of which there are many in this soup.
The tubers, roots, and starches all thicken the broth, adding creaminess to the body that plays well with the meatier flavors from head meat. This soup fills your mouth with flavor.

The goat pieces are tricky, but delicious. Go for the ones with obvious meat on them. Some are just fat and connective tissues and such, and should be enjoyed with caution as it can be quite an overpowering flavor alone, but the slow stewed tender meat strewn throughout is more than worth the trouble.

The goat head soup is only available on Fridays. Show up on a random day and you may be sipping on some chicken foot (delicious) or some cow foot (not so much).

The other food is really good too, but the place is really small and always crowded (because it's good).

It's always a fun time in there, as the cast of Brooklyn characters and Caribbean accents fill the small handful of booths and tiny front end, everyone waiting for their number and a spot to sit. Most people get the food to go, but I've eaten in there every time, except once, when I had some goat head soup in my car the very first time, skirting back to my seat to enjoy the fascinating meal and splendor of exotic eats.

Do not be alarmed if there is a very small hair or two, about the size of an eyelash; chances are, it is one.

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