The name of this Mexican meal stems from the Spanish word for “poor quality”, but this stew-like dish is anything but! Served tortilla-style, the braised goat is often reserved for special occasions such as Christmas and weddings. 






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (28 votes)


  • 4 (30 g) dried guajillo chillies (see Note)
  • 3 (30 g) dried ancho chillies (see Note)
  • 2 (10 g) dried New Mexico chillies (see Note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 kg boneless goat leg meat, cut into 3 cm pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 80 ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • warmed corn tortillas and lime wedges, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Drink Little Creatures Original Pilsner ($20, sixpack).

Soaking time 20 minutes

To make chilli paste, remove and discard stems and seeds from chillies. Roughly tear into pieces, then place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 20 minutes, then drain, reserving 1 tbsp water. Process chillies, garlic, oregano, onion, cinnamon and reserved soaking water in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Season goat well with salt, then cook, in 2 batches, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate.

Return pan over medium heat, add chilli paste and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Return goat to pan with bay leaf, vinegar, sugar and 500 ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Cook, uncovered, for a further hour or until goat is tender. Transfer to a bowl, reserving 125 ml cooking liquid.

When goat is cool enough to handle, shred meat. Toss through reserved cooking liquid. Combine coriander and onion in a bowl. Serve goat with coriander salad, tortillas and lime wedges.



• Guajillo, ancho and New Mexico chillies are from Herbie’s Spices. Ancho chillies, which are more widely available than the other two varieties, are also available from Monterey Mexican Foods and Fireworks Foods. Use 7 (70g) ancho chillies if you can’t find the other varieties.


As seen in Feast magazine, Mar 2012, Issue 7. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.

Photography by John Laurie.