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Feb 11, 2011 08:40 AM

What to do with a wild goose?

So I was given a frozen whole, dressed, 3 lb wild Canadian (?) goose. After searching the boards and trying to decide what to do with it, I've given up from too much info overload. Does anyone have a recommendation how I should approach this critter? It's very lean, rather small and I'm worried about mishandling so valuable a culinary gift. It came fully frozen so I'd like to figure out a plan before I begin defrosting it. I was thinking wild rice should definitely play apart in the dressing and I'm not planning on stuffing it with anything other than aromatics as the poor things' cavity is too small for more than a few bits of onion, carrot, and orange unless advice points me in another direction.

Do I brine? Spatchcock and roast? Cover with bacon or some kind of fatty meat? Soak in milk? Ack! I was so relieved it came without feathers, head and feet I didn't stop to think what to do with it when I got it. I do have some lovely venison sausage that could be used as part of the dish too, if that seems appropriate.

All the online recipies I've found seem to be geared towards domestic birds. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Canada Goose (sorry for the nudge).

    Lucky to have it! I wish that I could go out and plug one. It's going to be very lean and gamey in that iron-y liver-y way that really gets my pulse going. You won't get much out of the legs and thighs so my suggestion is to salt them and then confit (familiar?).

    With the breast, I say spatchcock it and roast it with apples and sausage. Braised red cabbage would go well, I'm sure. Go for the rare side which means that after defrosting, let it warm up on the countertop before it goes in the oven.

    Very lucky score but don't be afraid of it! Just thaw it out and have at it.

    I suggest staying away from "Game cookbooks," too. In my experience, the ones done in America all seem to be focused on making the wild meat taste as much like supermarket meat as possible, thus the soaking in milk, condensed mushroom soup, etc.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ernie Diamond

      Will do. That Canada goose was a lucky break from a hunting friend. And yes, a confit is a good idea, but where to find goosefat? Hum...I'll check with my butcher. Thanks!

      1. re: aggiecat

        Presumably, if you're going to pull the breast, pull the skin from its back, sides,and butt and render out the fat. Annually, we shoot about 40-50 honkers..lots go into summer sausage and a few of the smaller, young birds will get plucked. We've
        brined them and grilled them over smoking hot coals. Also breast a lot of birds out..fajitas, stews, chili, stroganoff...whatever you would make with beef. Mmmmm

        1. re: VeggieHead

          GOOSE SAUSAGE?!?! *head explodes*

          That sounds... just... amazing... Good lord. I'm all verklempt thinking about it.

          1. re: VeggieHead

            confit may be lovely, but I think it would be tragic if the OP didn't fry some potatoes in that goose fat!

            1. re: danna

              Assuming this lean looking little bird I have gives up enough fat to do it, the pommes will definitely be frite in my house.

          2. re: aggiecat

            I'm lucky in that where I live, I can usually buy goose fat for around $8 a quart.
            That said, you don't HAVE to use goose fat to confit the goose (or duck, or whatever). It may be ideal, but in the end, and in a pinch, I've found that pork fat or even chicken fat works quite well.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. Goose rillettes are WONDERFUL. I have the fortune of receiving and cooking wild goose (and duck, etc.) and love it with roasted applesauce, too.

            1. As previous posters have pointed out, wild goose is a very, very lean gamey bird. You basically have to cook it for a very short period of time or a very long period of time. Here are a few ideas.

              1) Marinate the skinless, boneless breasts in a flank steak type marinade. Grill til rare. Slice very thin. Serve with a cumberland-type sauce or a fruit/chili salsa.
              2) Marinate chunked, skinless boneless breasts in red wine, bay, onion, garlic,etc. for 2 days. Drain. Proceed with your favorite coq au vin recipe. Braise in very low oven for 3-4 hours. This is my preferred method.
              3) If you insist on trying to roast the whole bird, do it inside a Reynolds plastic roasting bag. Add a little broth, some oj concentrate, and sprinkle of four. Still, cook only until still pink.

              I find the legs to be too stringy and sinewy to be worth the bother. You might try a confit, but don't spend too much on the fat as it might be money down the drain.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pappy

                Well, that sounds like some very good advice. I'll be thawing tonight and start the marinating tomorrow with plans to braise on Sunday while we are at church. I do have a great coq au vin recipe and often wished for some old chicken to cook it with. Here's hoping we have a nice surprise for Sunday dinner. Or we could be eating out. Either way it's an adventure.

                1. re: aggiecat

                  i can't WAIT to hear how it turns out!

              2. The original comment has been removed