Sunday, November 25, 2012

When your goose is cooked

I will admit that I've been wanting to try roasting a goose for some time now. No, not just because geese are loud, mean creatures -- well, they are! -- but I'm always on the lookout for a challenge in the kitchen. I have managed in recent years to pretty much master roasting chicken and duck (if I do say so myself), and to be honest when there was a mixup with the Muscovy duck I'd ordered from one of the local farmers last weekend I took it as a sign that I was at last meant to cook a goose. He had one on hand, ready to go. There was just one little problem: mom had expressly nixed goose as an option when I proposed it last Thanksgiving. "Too gamy," she insisted. Well. Maybe I just wouldn't tell her it was goose until afterwards. I wouldn't lie about it, exactly, just refer to it as "the bird" until after the first helping....

Thanksgiving morning began with me lopping off the long neck of the (thankfully) plucked and footless bird, then cutting off the excess fat while mom and dad went to church. After a rather comical skin-pricking and scalding of "the bird," I dunked some prunes in sherry to soak awhile. This would be the base for the bird's stuffing -- "If this doesn't balance out the gamy flavor, I don't know what will!" I mused as I later sipped on the plum-infused sherry -- along with apples, orange zest, and roasted chestnuts, according to the roast goose recipe I'd chosen. My plan for the Chinese White heritage goose was almost foolproof.


By around 6 that evening, I'd sufficiently smoked up the kitchen with melting goose fat and singed the bird. Dad and I determined it was ready to carve and bring into the dining room.

 While the skin was crispy and the color was nice -- all dark meat, when cut up it was almost identical to the lamb dad had roasted (because apparently there was not enough meat on the table for the 5 of us) -- the meat itself was tough, stringy, and... gamy. We all tried some, but nobody reached for seconds. This may have been been as much due to the flavor as to the fact that the almost-6-pound bird didn't have much meat on it. (I later learned that these are generally laying geese rather than meat birds. Yes, apparently so.)

Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing, or maybe my culinary pride, but on Friday morning I felt compelled to confess to mom that it was in fact a goose -- not a duck -- that we'd eaten the night before. "I was wondering why it looked and tasted funny," she laughed. Dad and I decided to toss the carcass: no need for goose soup. (I did save a little of the rendered goose fat for frying up some latkes sometime soon, though.)

1 comment:

  1. I guess I can see why we did not discuss the goose!
    (Really? A goose?!) (Schmeg)


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