Monday, December 26, 2011

The Cooked Goose: Christmas 2011. If you have not tried goose, you are missing a mouth watering meal.

For Christmas this year we somehow decided it would be good to try goose. I have cooked duck, and love it, but had not tried a goose.

I inquired with Wagshal's Market in DC (the best butcher by far that I have found in metro DC) and Pam assured me she could get me a goose and I would not have to club one at the park. Pam said for eleven people we would need two geese. We ended up cooking one, and saving one to smoke, but she was largely correct (more later).

As usual when I am cooking something new, I read a variety of recipes and looked for common elements. Most recipes called for steaming or scalding the goose before roasting to start the process of rendering the fat. I ended up using many of the technique elements in this recipe from December 2011 Saveur but modified it heavily.

Geese and ducks swim in cold water, so they have a think layer of fat to protect themselves from the cold. This fat needs to be rendered during cooking so the meat is not greasy. The process of steaming the goose for an hour, then slow roasting it worked very well. I collected almost 2 lbs of rendered goose fat. The good news is that goose fat is an awesome cooking ingredient. I will be making a variety of roast potatoes and vegetables cooked in the leftover fat.

Due to nut allergies, I made totally different stuffing than the one in the Saveur article. I modified the recipe I use for turkey, and it worked well.
4 cups cornbread
4 cups rustic bread
The bread should be stale, cubed and any tough crusts removed.
1/2 lb loose bfast sausage
2 C minced celery
1 C minced leek
8 T butter (1 stick)
1 C Chicken Broth
1/4 lb dried cherries
1 1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried sage
1 large tart apple, peeled and diced

All the stuffing recipes I saw made about 8-9 cups, but this is way more than required to stuff the goose. We cooked half of it in a pan and it was good, but if you only want enough to stuff the goose, cut the recipe in half. I considered adding the goose liver to the stuffing, and decided against it but I think it would be worth trying.

I generally followed the Saveur recipe for gravy and it was great. It would have been better if I had waited until the very end and deglazed the pan, but it was still delicious using reduced broth from simmering the neck.

The meat and stuffing from the goose were excellent. In my opinion better than turkey. The meat is rich, but seemed to go with other food (and wine) more naturally.

We had eleven people for dinner, six adults and five children, including my 13 year old son who eats more than most adults. Everyone got some goose and with all the sides no one went hungry. However, this group probably could have eaten half the second goose. Next time I would probably cook both geese - though I am looking forward to trying one smoked.

The Finished Product


Via iPad

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