I mentioned several blog posts back that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. This one was no exception. Many thing made, but the makery bit I wanted talk about today though is cooking goose.
Many years ago Michael and I got off turkey at Thanksgiving. Mainly because neither of us cares for white meat, and over-cooked white turkey meat is the worst culprit of all. I assume that people cook it within an inch of its life so they can use gravy to mask and enhance what little powdery flavor it would normally have.
We've done pheasants, quail, venison, pork loins, just about anything we could to avoid turkey. On a couple of occasions we have done goose. I think this my third or forth outing. Here's the things with cooking large game birds, they're sort of like shishkabobs, it would be neat if the legs, thighs, breast cooked at the same temperature for the same length for a dazzling display when you pull it off the grill. But sadly what you usually get is an passably cooked piece of lamb, a raw onion and burnt and runny tomato. How I solved for the kabob problem in the past was speciating squares so everything has a chance to cook in its own time and then mix the results on the plate.
Same Idea with the goose. Huge dark meat breast (think about all that flying they do) with a really fatty duck like layer of skin. It's the cooking away the fat without over cooking the meat into leathery red strips that is the challenge, combined with the fact that the legs and thighs take longer to get to temperture than the breast.
Here's what I did. I roasted the 18ish pound goose for about 45 minutes at a lower temperature, then at about 130F it came out of the oven. Using a boning knife I then removed the entire breast, and set the two halves aside. I put the bird back in the oven until deep in the hip joint got to about 140F. Then the entire bird came out of the oven to rest and cool before cutting.
I removed the legs and thigh and misc. other bits from the carcass and put it the with breasts that had been set aside earlier. The thing about the goose meat was it was still a little underdone with a respectable amount of bacon like fat left in the skin.
The final prep phase was pan-searing the skin just before serving. I put about half an inch of molten goose fat in a cast iron skilet and at high temperature pan fried all of the pieces skin down to get lovely brown color with just the right amount of crispiness. It was then arranged on a patter and served. Still a little fatty, but the meat was almost perfect. It may have not ben the soviet display of bird some want for the holiday, but the meat was worth the effort.
On a side note some of you who know me better might be asking right about now, "wait a second I thought you were vegan?" And the answer is, for the most part I am, normally when we cook at home there's not a lot of animal product of any kind. The reason I am vegan is for health and resource issus, and less animal rights. Eating to much animal product was going to put in in an early grave, plus if everyone ate just a couple more meat free days a week the resource use that fuels industrial agriculture would feel the significant decrease.
But when it come to celebrations I like to be more traditional. Besides saving up for big meat extravaganzas makes them seem all more tastey when that day finally arrives.