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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.

                      4. If you're killing your own goose, you're in for an experience! Many years ago, when I lived in a land far far away, a friend gave me a live goose for Christmas dinner (he was Moslem and a very thoughtful guy!) about three weeks in advance. My chef-housekeeper and I decided to try for our own foie gras and hobbled the fowl and force fed it corn and whatever about six times a day for two or two and a half weeks. It did nothing to increase the volume of its liver, but my god, when it came time to pluck, we had enough down and feathers to keep all of Scandinavia warm for three ice ages! When you buy your live goose, look at it and figure it will be about half the size once you take away the feathers! I would pay someone to kill and dress it for me, if there is an option.

                        As for roasting... With both geese and ducks, I find that simply piercing the skin is less than optimum for rendering fat. Both critters have HEAVY fat deposits under their skin, and the problem with the fork pricking method is that most of the holes seal up and retain the fat during the early stages of roasting. Instead, I slit the skin being careful NOT to go all the way through the fat layer but certainly through the skin. This method does not "heal" and close up and you get maximum fat for other delicious uses.

                        I usually stuff my geese. I often do a stuffing of chestnuts (roasted and peeled), dried bread cubes, tangerine or orange zest, peeled segments of tangerine or orange, or supremes if you prefer, a good dose of Grand Marnier, some caramelized onions, a bit of small diced celery, salt and pepper. Toss to mix, make sure the chestnuts are broken but not smashed to smithereens, and stuff the goose, cavity and breast. Truss and roast. I use a 375F to 400F oven and check through the window regularly. If any part looks like it' browning faster than the other parts, tent that area with loose aluminum foil. When done, allow the goose to rest while you make a sauce with the drippings. Instead of more Grand Marnier, I use a bit of traditional black currant jelly and cognac in my sauce. At the moment I don't recall off hand the interior temperature for a properly roasted goose, but I'm confident Google knows!

                        May your Christmas be packed with great memories that include a marvelous roast goose!

                        EDIT: I almost forgot one of the most important parts. Presentation! I take my geese to table uncarved and on an oversized platter. Around the goose is a border of "sugar plum" fruits. Primarily small bunches of grapes, but crab apples, small pears and other small fruits such as tangerines work wonderfully too. Make them a day or two ahead by dipping in frothy, lightly beaten egg whites, then rolled in granulated sugar and set to dry. When dried, they look like crystalized or ice crusted fruits. I set them on a bed of greens surrounding the goos. Depending on whats greenest and best at your market, the greens can simply be plentiful sprigs of parsley or butter lettuce, or if you can find them, even a bed of bay leaves or non-toxic pine. Have fun with it! Your guests will love your effort! If you plan on allowing people to eat the fruit (I always do), then I suggest EggBeaters pasturized egg whites just to make sure no salmonella comes to the party! Enjoy.

                        1. http://www.schiltzfoods.com/goose_rec...

                          The URL above leads to a very extensive list of links to some great goose recipes. I've narrowed my list down to about six recipes but I only have one goose! Decisions! Decisions! I'm leaning toward one of the recipes with Cumberland sauce or the drop dead gorgeous Viennese Christmas Goose (Weihnachtsgans).

                          The website also has good prices on their free range geese, though I don't know what shipping will be. I've had this link tucked away in my Food file for a couple of years but completely forgot about it until AFTER I'd bought a rather pricey frozen goose at a local market. Everybody shoots themselves in the foot every once in a while, but why do I have to do it with a shotgun instead of a .22? <sigh>

                          1. grandpa shot them on the dairy farm, mom says........
                            I wish I knew what my grandfather did to his goose every few months as I was growing up that he made one. it was phenomenal. everything about it, tender, juicy, crisp skin. so much liquid, so rich, cut nicely with the sort of vegetables he always served, root veggies. and the best part, grandma's flat bread to sop up the drippings.........yum.

                            my mom growing up on Lake Alice in Minnesota, says the geese were plentiful.
                            also told me how she'd come home from school to find her favorite treat, a snow buried baked potato that'd been underground all day roasting on hot rocks, awaiting her hungry appetite after walking from school.

                            1. I have made Turducken. Has anyone used a goose with or without the duck?