The City Magazine Since 1975

Goat Meatballs with Lentils & Coconut Hoppin’ John

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For the meatballs:
1 lb. ground goat
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint
1½ Tbs. grated shallot
1½ garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp. Moroccan spice mix (Willliams-Sonoma’s Mourad’s Moroccan Roasting & Grilling Rub recommended)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups peanut oil

For the lentils:
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrot
1½ tsp. minced garlic
3/4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. Moroccan spice mix (Willliams-Sonoma’s Mourad’s Moroccan Roasting & Grilling Rub recommended)
1 bay leaf
2¼ cups homemade goat stock or low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the coconut Hoppin’ John:
1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
1/2 small shallot, minced
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 of a 14-oz. can coconut milk  
1½ cups cooked black beans, drained
1 cup jasmine or Uncle Ben’s rice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, optional


Combine the goat meat, cilantro, mint, shallot, garlic, spice mix, salt, and egg thoroughly but do not over mix. Roll mixture into one-inch balls. Put enough of the oil in a deep skillet so that it would only barely cover the meatballs. Heat the oil until it is shimmering but not smoking.

Working in batches, place 10 to 12 meatballs into the oil at a time. Roll the meatballs around slightly to make sure they brown evenly and are not sticking. They should brown in about two minutes. Remove them from the oil and place them on paper towels. Repeat the process until all of the meatballs are browned.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and ginger and sauté them until tender, six to eight minutes.

Add the tomatoes, thyme, spice mix, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook about five minutes. Add the stock, lentils, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and top with the meatballs. Cover tightly. Bake for one hour, or until the lentils are cooked.

Heat the butter over medium heat in a two-quart saucepan, preferably one with a tight fitting lid. Add the shallots and jalapeño and sauté approximately three to five minutes until tender. Add the stock, coconut milk, and black beans and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and bring back to a boil. Cover the saucepan tightly with lid or aluminum foil.

Reduce the heat to the burner’s lowest setting. Simmer the beans and rice for 17 minutes and turn off the heat. Wait 10 more minutes and uncover. Fluff with a fork and cover for five more minutes. Add the optional scallions.