Goose, Sour Cherry, Juniper

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I don't understand why goose is not more popular than it is on American dining tables whether it be at home or in restaurants. Like duck and ostrich, these are very meaty, beefy birds. The breast meat is every bit as red as beef or lamb and the fat is simply the best. If one considers the rich deliciousness of a goose egg too, I would think they would be amongst the most popular menu items out there. Somehow, that just isn't the case, though.

For the second holiday season in a row, I bought a freshly killed goose from Mary & Bob Pratt of Washington County's Elihu Farm (more information below *) at the Saratoga Farmers Market this past Saturday. Last year, I roasted it whole in my CVap. It was delicious. This year, I decided I would try something different. I butchered it to cut out the boneless breasts from the carcass and separated the wings and the thighs with the legs  as well. I took the skin and most of the fat to render the fat and make goose cracklings.  I used the fat to confit the thighs and legs and am making a prosciutto from one of the breasts. The carcass and neck are being saved to make a goose stock.

For the remaining breast, I cooked it in my CVap Cook and Hold for 2.5 hours at 135ºF on a cedar plank with browning off. I then finished it on the cooktop searing it in a little butter. The meat was perfect! To complement the rich goose I made a sauce using Red Sour Cherry Preserves & Topping from Chukar Cherries. The cherry preserves were too sweet to use on their own, but with the addition of a generous helping of freshly ground juniper berries, salt and the juice of half a lemon, they made an excellent sweet and sour sauce to complement the meaty goose.

Yes, when I eat something as delicious and reasonably easy to make (I realize that there are few CVaps outside of restaurant kitchens. The breast with skin and fat attached can be seared just like a duck breast to the same wonderful end), I don't understand why it isn't more popular. Is it just a question of opportunity? If so, then I suggest that opportunities be found or made. goose is that good!

*From Elihu Farm:

Raising the Geese. The goslings, all gray and white Toulouse (a heritage breed), arrived onelovely morning in May as day-olds, peeping away in four large boxes at our local Post Office. Right away,we dipped their bills in fresh water as we counted and transferred to larger containers. Then it was off tothe sheep barn for “goose starter,’ grain mix, and lights for warmth, and more water, water, water.

They soon learned we were t-h-e meal ticket, and chattered away when we were nearby. As theygrew, their pen grew, until they were large enough to explore the grass near the barn. Geese love grass,and are excellent lawn mowers.

In a short time, we ‘weaned’ from the brooder, and soon put them to pasture all the time,surrounded by electric netting for protection. Vigorous healthy birds, they love their grass, and love theirwater and more water and more water. They still eat some grain for carbohydrates to keep them warm.

Goose for Dinner. There’s nothing quite like the flavorful dark meat from goose, which is lower infat than beef or lamb. The fat is semi-solid, containing over 50% of the beneficial monounsaturated oleicfatty acid, an Omega-3. Rendered goose fat is excellent for sautéing vegetables or roasting potatoes. Weexpect our geese to be leaner than conventionally raised birds.

Ordering. The geese run from about 7-1/2 to 10 pounds, dressed, and cost $7.95/lb. Pick up onthe farm or at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market. Delivery to Albany may be available. Contact Maryand Bob Pratt, elihufarm@localnet.com, 518-753-7838, 518-744-3947.


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