Trahana is an earthy, rich, highly flavorful traditional Greek pasta product. It’s the size of small pebbles and comes in sweet and sour versions. The latter, which is called for here, is made with either buttermilk or yogurt and has a delicious, tangy flavor. The sweet version, also the size of small pebbles, is made with whole milk. In this dish, the use of Chios Mastiha is especially interesting because the spice, despite its delicate nature, holds its own against the robust flavors of the trahana, the typical gaminess of goat, and the heartiness of the tomato sauce.
1. Marinate the meat from the day before: Place in a bowl together with the Chios Mastiha crystals, half the olive oil, bay leaves, one garlic clove, and the caraway seeds.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, wide pot and brown the meat on all sides. Pour in the tomato juice and paste. Add the water, stock, onions, celery, carrots, and plum tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 – 3 hours, adding more water as needed during cooking. There should be about 5-6 cups of liquid in the pot at all times.
3. When the meat is tender remove pot from heat. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and strain the pot juices through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve.
4. Pour half the strained juices, about three cups, into another saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the trahana. Simmer until tender, stirring frequently, for about 10-14 minutes. Pour the remaining strained juices back into the original pot, together with the meat. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper, and Chios Mastiha powder. Simmer until the sauce is reduced and thick, about 10 minutes.
5. Serve the meat over the trahana and drizzle with a little raw olive oil.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) lean goat meat
- 10 gr. (1/3 oz.) Chios Mastiha crystals
- ½ cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves, cracked
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 10 caraway seeds
- 60 ml tomato juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 medium onions
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 medium carrots, pared
- 200 gr. (7 oz.) sour trahana
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 -1 tsp. (to taste) ground Mastiha crystals