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Goose Basics

I've recently gotten a notion to buy and prepare a goose. However, since I no know nothing of this wonderful art, I was hoping somebody on here does. Any links, tips, info on how prepare a goose would be great! I'm planning on buying a fresh from a farm I've seen in my area. So I need info for everything! I'm gonna have to kill and go through the entire shebang, so help! Please? Thank you in advance!

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    1. My father-in-law cooked every Christmas goose dead wrong, at least the ones I was present for, and they were still damn good. By the time it came out of the (upper!!) oven it was swimming in fat, and since he'd figured his part was over we had to very carefully bring the pot down to the butcher block and hoist the bird out onto a platter. The flesh was rich and succulent, though the skin was definitely not crisp, and since he couldn't be bothered with it I'd take about a quart of goose fat home.

      These aren't really tips, I know, but they are meant to encourage you. A goose is kinda like a pork shoulder: you can't screw it up unless you try cooking it by dousing it in kerosene and setting it on fire.

      James Beard is my go-to authority for fatty fowl, since he was even fonder of them than I am. I have yet to address a goose, mostly because they're really expensive, but he's never led me astray on duck, which is similar but for size. He will probably tell you to prick the skin without digging into the muscle, and draw off the accumulated fat a few times during the cooking process. And for Pete's sake do NOT lose that fat!

      1. I cooked a goose once and it was wonderful. I remember princking the skin to let the fat drain as it cooked. It was stuffed with fruit, onions and herbs. No stuffing in the goose to eat as it would be too fatty.

        1. You know what. I have had some great success following the direction from Martha Stewart on all things goose. Here is a good jump off point http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/s... Because it is a good recipe (and menu) for Christmas goose and I have made it so I know I am not steering you down a bad road. Made the rice as well. Yum. A nice break from the normal I think.

          Here is the menu she has laid out http://www.marthastewart.com/article/....

          Here is a bit more a snazzy one: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/g...

          Good luck with your bird. I see that you are going to kill you own. Is that a bit of a misunderstanding? If not and you run into a snap and nobody at the farm is around (best to talk to), I will check back to see if you need to talk it over.

          The whole shebang! Lovely!

          9 Replies
          1. re: Sal Vanilla

            I will be killing my own. Except it's not an official farm, I think they keep the birds as pets or something...

            1. re: Rusmon

              I assume you could use the legs like chicken legs for stock?

                1. re: Rusmon

                  Another question. When I am killing the goose. What would be better, slicing the neck artery and let it bleed out or just chop of the head?

                  1. re: Rusmon

                    Wait what? you are eating someone's pet???

                    1. re: j8715

                      I don't know. That's why I'm planning on asking.

                    2. re: Rusmon

                      For processing a goose, get a killing cone, if it is a large goose a 5 gallon bucket with a hole large enough for the head to fit through will do; suspend the bucket to shoulder height, put the goose in the bucket pull the head until the neck extends below the bucket; with a small knife puncture the brain through the mouth and then slit the throat and let it drain. Now you are ready to pluck and clean the cavity. Save the liver, heart and gizzard!!

                      1. re: Rusmon

                        Rusmon - if you are hunting, your state may require you keep his head on. Be sure to check. if you are just going out and getting one - well all bets are off. we leave the head on and simply slit him neck to between the feet (after plucking him). Make sure you are gentle when cutting so you do not slit his bowel and have a nasty mess on your hand. Have a bucket and water handy to dump your guts into and a small boat for organ meat and a little pairing knife to cut free what won't come freely.

                      2. re: Rusmon

                        With chicken legs and feet, you can throw them into the stock. They are a big source of collagen. A stock made with chicken feet is very gelatinous.

                        I'm wondering if goose feet or legs provide the same collagen.

                2. Roast Goose has been our traditional family Xmas dinner since the 1970's. And it's always turned out fabulous with very little brouhaha prepping. Don't get yourself in a dither or even bother with fancy-shmancy recipes.

                  Forget about "Martha". The recipe I've been using ever since the book came out has been Julia Child's "Steam-Roasted Goose with Port Wine Gravy" from the best cookbook she ever wrote - "The Way To Cook". Either buy a copy (it's reasonably priced in both hard & softcover) or see if your library has it & get the recipe. Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions. No frou-frou or tomfoolery. No fancy ingredients. No smokey kitchen. Hands-down unbelievably fabulous results. You'll never want to cook goose any other way again. You'll end up wonderful rendered goose fat to save in your freezer for all sorts of other dishes. You'll end up with a fabulous grease-free yet juicy bird with crispy skin. You'll end up luscious leftovers to turn into a New Year's Day French Cassoulet if you wish (which is our New Year's Day tradition as well).
                  Trust me. Many years of goose-roastind experience here. Follow it & you won't be disappointed.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Breezychow

                    Wow, you've convinced me! I've never cooked a goose. Are the frozen ones beside the turkeys awful?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      c oliver.....I just saw a post you did about chicken stock and Sam Fujisaka back in July. I was stunned to see that he had passed away. I had no idea. My attendance here has been spotty lately. How did you find out? I live in the town where here lived during years of his youth. I never met him...only through here. I'm so sad. He was like Yoda of rice.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Thank you. So sad...but so fortunate. I wrote on his facebook page he was like Sensei and Yoda all rolled into one. That's how I pictured him when he would respond to one of my questions. I'm so sorry for his family and their loss. But boy...did he leave a mark here! I'll miss him!

                          1. re: mrsmegawatt

                            But always smile :) And eat weird food.

                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          Thanks. II've always wanted to get one but didn't have a clue.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          The frozen supermarket birds have always been excellent, regardless of brand. The brand we see most around here is "Whetstone", which I think is in PA, but any/all of the brands we've tried have been good. My only tip for buying is to buy the largest bird you can find, since the meat/bone ration is different from turkey or chicken.

                          One year we did buy an organic, free-range, fresh goose from Whole Foods for a very hefty price, & frankly we didn't find any difference or improvement in flavor from the frozen birds we'd enjoyed before. So now we just go with the less expensive frozen supermarket geese.

                          With Julia's steam-roasted goose recipe (which can also be found online, by the way), you really can't go wrong.

                        3. re: Breezychow

                          I have never had a smoky kitchen and Martha's recipe does not require steaming. They are not fancy shmancy, just good. And not greasy. I have cooked that very recipe from Julia Child. It is more finicky. Good, but certainly not less fussy.